It’s no secret that 90% of breaches start with a phishing attack. The question is: are you prepared to recognize phishing and respond to it? Many organizations are concerned with how much spam they receive and implement controls specific to spam. But you shouldn’t confuse preventing spam with responding to phishing attacks.
On April 5th, our Phishing Defense Center received a flurry of emails with subject line following a pattern of Lastname, firstname. Attached to each email was a password-protected .docx Word document with an embedded OLE package. In all cases the attachments were password protected to decrease the likelihood of detection by automated analysis tools. A password was provided to the victim in the body of the email which attempts to lure the victim into opening the malicious attachment and to increase the apparent legitimacy of the message.
In the first quarter of 2017, PhishMe Intelligence has noted an increase in malware distributors utilizing OLE packages in order to deliver malware content to victims. This current trend was first noted in December 2016 with close association to the delivery of the Ursnif botnet malware. This technique abuses Microsoft Office documents by prompting the victim to double-click an embedded icon to access some content. These objects are used to write a script application to disk that facilitates the download and execution of a malware payload. This method adds to another iteration of techniques threat actors use to evade anti-analysis and sandbox environments and to successfully infect the intended recipient.
One of the most historically effective techniques for gaining new infections for the powerful Dridex botnet malware has been sizable sets of widely-distributed phishing email. While these large campaigns have been intermittent for several months, the past week’s Dridex distributions have shown a renewed vigor with several larger campaigns being launched both concurrently and repeatedly. Many of these campaigns return to well-used and previously-successful email templates and malware delivery tools that had seen earlier utilization in conjunction with both Dridex deliveries and the delivery of other malware tools.
On March 30, 2017 three distinct sets of phishing emails were identified as delivering the Dridex malware. Each was a rehashing of a previously-used phishing narrative. The emails analyzed for Threat ID 8692 pretended to represent communication from a travel agency based in the United Kingdom confirming the recipient’s vacation travel has been booked. Other emails, delivered concurrently, purposed to deliver a vaguely- described “confirmation” as analyzed in Threat ID 8693. Furthermore, Threat ID 8700 documents a set of messages purporting to deliver a notice that an image attachment was ready for sending in yet another vague phishing narrative. Examples of these messages can be seen in Figure 1.
The message narrative used in these campaigns should be familiar to information security professionals following Dridex as they represent similar themes to earlier Dridex campaigns. The impersonation of small- and medium-sized firms based in the United Kingdom was previously a common theme among Dridex delivery emails. This preference in content may serve to indicate a preference for a population with which those emails are meant to have disproportionate appeal. However, it appears that these emails were still delivered globally. The other repeated narrative seen once again today is a vague informational message about the status of an image attachment that has been readied for sending. Similar narratives have been used a half-dozen times in the delivery of Dridex since July 2015.
While the Dridex botnet malware’s users are launching phishing campaigns with renewed vigor, their stories and tools have stayed the same. This provides a distinct advantage to threat intelligence users who have access to repositories of information on the tactics, techniques, and procedures related to earlier attacks. It also provides an advantage to organizations whose email users are prepared and empowered to identify and report suspicious emails. Empowered recipients of messages like these are able to recognize the lure and instead of becoming victims, can make a difference for their organization by reporting the email.
Emails based on the threats shown in this blog post are also available as templates in PhishMe Simulator.
For further information on the Threat ID’s mentioned in this post, PhishMe Intelligence customers can log into https://www.threathq.com.
For more information on PhishMe’s human vetted, phishing-specific threat intelligence request a demo today.
Before investing in any type of security solution, you need to know your money will be well spent.
That’s especially true for security professionals shopping for antiphishing solutions, hence why PhishMe commissioned Forrester Research, Inc. to research the effectiveness of PhishMe’s complete phishing defense solution among key customers.
It’s the time of year when Taxes are on everyone’s mind – especially Phishers!
The stress of filing. The stress of gathering all the documents. The stress of reporting. The stress of the deadline. All of that on top of everything else you have to do this time of year makes tax time phishing a favorite and highly successful annual event for phishing scams. However, once the filing is completed, it doesn’t mean the campaigns will stop. W2 and CEO fraud are timeless phishing campaigns that run all year long.
Industry Veteran to Position PhishMe for Continued Global Expansion and Explosive Growth
Leesburg, VA – March 30, 2017 – PhishMe® (www.phishme.com), the leading provider of human-phishing defense solutions, appointed technology industry veteran Mel Wesley to head up its finance department as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). As PhishMe’s CFO, Wesley will shepherd the company as it continues to grow aggressively, capitalizing on the burgeoning demand for its solutions that thwart cyber attackers in their tracks.
PhishMe’s 2016 Malware Year in Review analysis shows fast growth of Ransomware while hackers continue to quietly attempt to steal data
LEESBURG, VA – March 14, 2017: PhishMe Inc., the leading provider of human phishing defense solutions, today released findings showing that while Ransomware delivered the greatest impact and growth in 2016, threat actors continue to attempt data breaches and theft.
PhishMe Wins for Best Security Service, Best Deployment in the U.S. and Top CEO and CTO Categories
LEESBURG, VA – March 3rd, 2017 – PhishMe, the leading provider of human-phishing defense solutions, was recently honored with four 2017 Info Security Products Guide Global Excellence Awards®, winning in every category in which it was a finalist. These prestigious global awards, put on by the industry’s leading information security research and advisory guide, recognize security and IT vendors with advanced, ground-breaking products and solutions that help set the bar higher for others in all areas of security and technologies. More than 40 judges from a broad spectrum of industry voices from around the world weighed the nominations, and their average scores determined the 2017 Global Excellence Awards finalists and winners.
Integration Pairs Efficient and Expedient Phishing Incident Response with Integrated Threat Analysis and Prevention
PhishMe® and Palo Alto Networks® technologies equip security teams with enhanced protection against phishing threats.
Conditioning employees to detect and report suspicious email is a strategy security leaders have adopted to protect the business and empower employees to become a defensive asset. PhishMe Triage™ ingests employee-reported suspicious email – allowing security teams to quickly assess and respond to threats. PhishMe Triage now integrates with Palo Alto Networks WildFire™ cloud-based threat analysis and prevention capabilities to provide an even more formidable approach to identifying and preventing potentially damaging phishing attacks.
When Phish Swim Through the ‘Net
As attackers continue to innovate, preventing successful execution of email with malicious intent will continue to be a challenge if it makes it to the inbox. Ransomware, business email compromise (BEC), malware infections, and credential-based theft all primarily stem from a single vector of compromise – phishing. A key defensive tactic is to condition employees to identify and report suspicious email to security teams for analysis. Yet, security teams need to be efficient and can’t afford to be bogged down with manual processing and analysis when responding to incidents. High functioning security teams must automate the ability to ingest, verify and enforce new protections for potential phishing attacks, all within their existing infrastructure.
Empowered Employees and Technology – Catchin’ Phish!
PhishMe Research has proven that employees who are conditioned to report suspicious email are assets, not liabilities, to the security posture of the business. Reporting suspicious email allows for additional technical and human analysis. Just a single employee reporting a malicious email is enough for security teams using the right resources to identify and disrupt the attacker before they are able to achieve their mission.
That one employee who has received proper conditioning to recognize and report suspicious email serves as an early warning system – tipping off the security team to an anomaly as soon as it hits the inbox!
PhishMe Triage receives reported suspicious email from employees and organizes and analyzes through its own security analytic engine as well as security partner integrations. These integrations allow security leaders to maximize their security technology investments and defenses. Triage identifies what is nefarious, and does it through automation rather than inundating security analysts with more reports to dissect.
Integrated PhishMe Phishing Analysis with Palo Alto Networks
Security teams who aspire to accelerate their phishing analysis can do so with the Palo Alto Networks WildFire API integration with PhishMe Triage. As email is reported to security teams operating PhishMe Triage, Palo Alto Networks WildFire customers can harness the integration capabilities to detect and prevent phishing cyberthreats.
Here’s a sample of how PhishMe and Palo Alto Networks are spotting threats that demand security teams’ attention.
- The analysis results produced by WildFire are strengthened when PhishMe Triage collects and prioritizes reported phishing attacks from PhishMe Reporter™ and maps useful indicators in the workflow.
- Customers with a valid WildFire subscription simply enter their API credentials into Triage to enable analysis of file attachments automatically. PhishMe Triage supports customer environments who utilize WildFire in the cloud or an on-premise WF-500 appliance. When configured, these solutions quickly analyze and provide a detailed examination to help security teams determine which threats require immediate attention to remediate or prevent similar attacks.
- Security teams simply choose the file-types they wish to have automatically analyzed at ingestion. The analysis results are then contained within PhishMe Triage and clustered to allow analysts to swiftly respond to the most critical.
- PhishMe Triage scrutinizes suspicious email at ingestion and uses the WildFire API to send the file(s) to determine their cyberthreat verdict. Quickly, the analyst receives integration results back into PhishMe Triage with summary detail and a thorough human-readable report illustrating the threat’s characteristics.
- With PhishMe Triage rule matching, reputation of the employee reporting, threat intelligence, and combined threat analysis from the WildFire cloud, analysts will be confident in their response and automation workflow action. Security teams can manually or programmatically categorize the threat to follow a workflow involving support for leading SIEM providers.
More about WildFire:
Palo Alto Networks WildFire™ cloud-based threat analysis and prevention service analyzes files and links and designates never-before-seen items for further investigation using static and dynamic analysis over multiple operating systems and application versions. If a sample is categorized as malicious, WildFire will automatically generate and populate a holistic set of new preventions to the Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Security Platform and integration partners, minimizing the risk of infection from both known and unknown threats without any additional, manual action. WildFire correlates global, community-driven threat intelligence from multiple sources across networks, endpoints and clouds to immediately halt threats from spreading. WildFire’s architecture provides granular controls over what data will be submitted for analysis. Elements like file type and session data, as well as choosing the data path and regional WildFire cloud where the analysis and data storage will take place, are all configurable.
To learn more about the Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Security Platform and WildFire, visit: https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/products/designing-for-prevention/security-platform.
To learn more about the PhishMe Triage, visit: https://phishme.com/product-services/triage.
For more information, download the full solution brief.