Apr 21 2022

Cybercriminals Deliver IRS Tax Scams & Phishing Campaigns By Mimicking Government Vendors

Category: Cyber Threats,Cybercrime,PhishingDISC @ 8:28 am

Threat intelligence firm Resecurity details how crooks are delivering IRS tax scams and phishing attacks posing as government vendors.

Cybercriminals are leveraging advanced tactics in their phishing-kits granting them a high delivery success rate of spoofed e-mails which contain malicious attachments right before the end of the 2021 IRS income tax return deadline in the U.S. April 18th, 2022 – there was a notable campaign detected which leveraged phishing e-mails impersonating the IRS, and in particular one of the industry vendors who provide solutions to government agencies which including e-mailing, digital communications management, and the content delivery system which informs citizens about various updates.

Cybercriminals purposely choose specific times when all of us are busy with taxes, and preparing for holidays (e.g., Easter), that’s why you need to be especially careful during these times.

The IT services vendor actors impersonated is widely used by major federal agencies, including the DHS, and other such WEB-sites of States and Cities in the U.S. The identified phishing e-mail warned the victims about overdue payments to the IRS, which should then be paid via PayPal, the e-mail contained an HTML attachment imitating an electronic invoice.

Cybercriminals Deliver IRS Tax Scams & Phishing Campaigns by Mimicking Government Vendors

Notably, the e-mail doesn’t contain any URLs, and has been successfully delivered to the victim’s inbox without getting flagged as potential spam. Based on the inspected headers, the e-mail has been sent through multiple “hops” leveraging primarily network hosts and domains registered in the U.S.:

Cybercriminals Deliver IRS Tax Scams & Phishing Campaigns by Mimicking Government Vendors

It’s worth noting, on the date of detection none of the involved hosts have previously been ‘blacklisted’ nor have they had any signs of negative IP or abnormal domain reputation:

Cybercriminals Deliver IRS Tax Scams & Phishing Campaigns by Mimicking Government Vendors

The HTML attachment with the fake IRS invoice contains JS-based obfuscated code.

IRS Internal Revenue Service

Scam Me If You Can: Simple Strategies to Outsmart Today’s Rip-off Artists

Tags: IRS Tax Scams, phishing, phishing countermeasures


Oct 13 2021

Cybersecurity awareness month: Fight the phish!

Category: Information Security,PhishingDISC @ 8:44 am

It’s the second week of Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021, and this week’s theme is an alliterative reminder: Fight the Phish!

Unfortunately, anti-phishing advice often seems to fall on deaf ears, because phishing is an old cybercrime trick, and lots of people seem to think it’s what computer scientists or mathematical analysts call a solved game.

Tic-tac-toe (noughts and crosses outside North America), for example, is a solved game, because it’s easy to create a list of every possible play, and figure out the best possible move from every game position on the list. (If neither player makes a mistake then the game will always be a draw.)

Even games that are enormously more complex have been “solved” in this way too, such as checkers (draughts)…

…and in comparison to playing checkers, spotting phishing scams feels like an easy contest that the recipient of the message should always win.

And if phishing is a “solved game”, surely it’s not worth worrying about any more?

How hard can it be?

Phishing Dark Waters: The Offensive and Defensive Sides of Malicious Emails

Don’t Get Caught

Tags: Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021, Fight the phish, phishing, phishing countermeasures, Phishing Dark Waters


Oct 24 2017

10 most clicked phishing email subject lines

Category: PhishingDISC @ 10:13 am

10 most clicked phishing email subject lines

Ironically, the most successful phishing emails of Q3 2017 told recipients that they had been victims of a data breach.

This finding comes from a report from KnowBe4 that investigated the most effective phishing email subject lines. The report looked at tens of thousands of emails from simulated and custom phishing tests, and discovered that the most clicked subject line was ‘Official Data Breach Notification’.

Phishing subject lines

The top ten most clicked subject lines were:

  1. Official Data Breach Notification
  2. UPS Label Delivery 1ZBE312TNY00015011
  3. IT Reminder: Your Password Expires in Less Than 24 Hours
  4. Change of Password Required Immediately
  5. Please Read Important from Human Resources
  6. All Employees: Update your Healthcare Info
  7. Revised Vacation & Sick Time Policy
  8. Quick company survey
  9. A Delivery Attempt was made
  10. Email Account Updates

KnowBe4 also evaluated phishing email subject lines specifically from social networks. The most clicked subject lines were messages ostensibly from LinkedIn. This is worrying for organisations, as many people link their work email address to their LinkedIn account, and a successful phishing attack could expose the company to a data breach or further phishing emails.

Other common social media phishing emails claimed that someone had attempted to log in to their accounts, that they’d been tagged in a photo or that they’d received free pizza.

“Nearly impossible” for technology to protect you

Commenting on the study, KnowBe4’s chief evangelist and strategy officer, Perry Carpenter, said: “The level of sophistication hackers are now using makes it nearly impossible for a piece of technology to keep an organization protected against social engineering threats. Phishing attacks are smart, personalized and timed to match topical news cycles. Businesses have a responsibility to their employees, their shareholders and their clients to prevent phishing schemes.”

You can take action against targeted phishing attacks by enrolling your staff on ITG Phishing Staff Awareness Course.

This online course shows your staff how phishing works, what to look out for and how to respond when they receive a malicious message. It’s ideal for all employees who use the Internet or email in their day-to-day duties and, as such, it’s delivered in simple terms that everyone in your organisation can understand.

Find out more about our Phishing Staff Awareness Course >>




Subscribe to DISC InfoSec blog by Email




Tags: phishing, phishing countermeasures, spear-phishing


Oct 01 2009

Sophisticated phishing attack and countermeasures

Category: Cybercrime,Email Security,Identity TheftDISC @ 12:36 am

phishing

Phishing and Countermeasures: Understanding the Increasing Problem of Electronic Identity Theft

Phishing is a practice of luring unsuspecting Internet users to a fake Web site by using authentic-looking email with the real organization’s logo, in an attempt to steal passwords, financial or personal information. In daily life people advise to retrace your steps when you lose something. The question is how you retrace your steps on cyberspace where some uber hackers know how to erase their footsteps to avoid detection. It is difficult to find phishers in cyberspace, and jurisdictional issues make it even harder to prosecute them. Then there is an issue of trust that phishers dupe people to believe that their web site is not fraudulent to collect personal/financial information.

Below is an example of sophisticated phishing attack
Link to phishing email

It looks very legit, with all the correct data, logos, graphics and signatures.

One giveaway: the TSA rule change has nothing to do with rental cars. It only affects your airline ticket vs your photo ID (drivers license, passport, whatever.)

To verify that this is bad stuff, right click on the links. You get “http://click.avis.com/r/GDYHH9/16HY8/6V5I29/M93XX4/YCCJP/A5/h”, which looks OK on first glance, since it says “avis.com”. But myAvis should not send me to “click.avis.com”. I also noticed that all the other links send you to the same location.

The clincher (here comes the geeky stuff:)

To open a terminal window, press the “Windows key” and the letter “R”.

You will see the “Run Dialog Box”. Type “cmd”, and press “OK

Open a terminal window and run nslookup:

C:\> nslookup
> www.avis.com <<< check IP address of the real AVIS web site Server: 4.2.2.3 Address: 4.2.2.3#53 Non-authoritative answer: www.avis.com canonical name = www.avis.com.edgekey.net. www.avis.com.edgekey.net canonical name = e2088.c.akamaiedge.net. Name: e2088.c.akamaiedge.net Address: 96.6.248.168 <<< get IP address of the real AVIS web site > click.avis.com <<< now check IP address of the bogus AVIS web site Server: 4.2.2.3 Address: 4.2.2.3#53 Non-authoritative answer: click.avis.com canonical name = avis.ed10.net. Name: avis.ed10.net <<< not the same domain as the real AVIS domain Address: 208.94.20.19 <<< note IP address is in a totally different sub net > 208.94.20.19 <<< now do a reverse lookup of the fake AVIS web site Server: 4.2.2.3 Address: 4.2.2.3#53 ** server can't find 19.20.94.208.in-addr.arpa.: NXDOMAIN <<< it should give you the web site name > avis.ed10.net <<< bogus AVIS web site name Server: 4.2.2.3 Address: 4.2.2.3#53 Non-authoritative answer: Name: avis.ed10.net Address: 208.94.20.19 > 208.94.20.19

Moral of the story: be very careful with links in emails and web pages. To check the authenticity of the link, right click on the link, copy that to a text file and take a good look.
Don’t click on the phisher’s email. Type URL into web browser yourself

——————————————————————————————————————————–
In the table below are the 12 threats to your online identity which can be manipulated in phishing scams, and possible countermeasures to protect your personal and financial information. Some threats are inadequate or no security controls in place. The last row of the table is a monitoring control to identify the warning signs of identity theft.
——————————————————————————————————————————–
[TABLE=7]



Download a free guide for the following cloud computing solutions

Hosted email solution
Hosted email archiving
Hosted web monitoring
Hosted online backup




Tags: email archiving, Email Security, Identity Theft, online backup, phishing, phishing countermeasures, phishing threats, web security