The campaign recorded appeared to peak on 18 April 2017 and primarily targeted email addresses associated with the .UK domain. The subject line of the emails sent varied slightly but the content took the form of fake billing notification emails, using an abnormally high billing amount to drive customers to click the link. Similar to previously recorded Geodo campaigns, these emails were formatted using images hosted by legitimate operator websites. Robert Capps, VP of business development at NuData Security commented below.
Robert Capps, VP of Business Development at NuData Security:
“Phishing schemes have become extremely sophisticated, with nearly all modern attacks aimed at stripping end users of their authentication credentials and other sensitive information. What is even more disconcerting is that IBM researchers have found that 70 percent of credentials are collected within the first hour of a phishing attack. So from the moment a user receives a malicious email in their inbox, the clock is ticking – most users will click on links and provide their information, or open a malware infected document in that first hour. Once they do, their credentials are immediately harvested for hackers to leverage or sell on the Dark Web. Educating end users is clearly not the answer, nor is the deployment of technical countermeasures to protect end users. The continued success of these attacks highlights a major flaw in identity validation techniques that can be stolen and reused. A multi-layered approach to authentication that provides newer and more secure techniques such as passive biometrics and behavioural analytics should be implemented by companies to determine if the expected human user is accessing and transacting on the account or a cybercriminal that needs to be blocked.
“At the core, malware like this is all about capturing consumer data. These malware strains are getting increasingly sophisticated about doing it, too. Using an email subject line that appears legitimate, could fool many users into believing this is a legitimate one from their phone provider, especially since the attached file also seems genuine, at first look. Overall, though, this is another warning to consumers to be extra cautious before you click a link in any email, purporting to be from a biller, bank or another trusted source, especially if you weren’t expecting to receive anything from them. When in doubt, don’t click links in emails. Interact your phone provider by typing in their legitimate URL in the web browser, or calling the number printed on your official bill or statement.”