Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint

2/25/2016
05:00 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Phishing Attacks Increase Tech Sophistication, Focus On Financial Fraud

With a prevalence of free, feature-rich phishing kits and multi-million dollar profits from business email compromise attacks, no wonder phishing's so popular.

Phishing attacks are becoming more sophisticated, even when the attackers themselves aren't. Basic, even free, phishing kits now contain a variety of clever functions, as well as obfuscation and anti-analysis techniques, according to a report released today by PhishLabs.

Phishing kits now often include features like pre-filled form data, high-quality emulation, live polls, and chained forms with false error messages to encourage victims to share more information, and phishing pages for mobile platforms. They're equipped with measures that allow them to impersonate legitimate businesses without being flagged by Web crawlers and identified as phishing pages.

More sophisticated attackers may sell phishing kits to amateurs on the black market for anywhere from $1 to $50 to turn a profit. According to PhishLabs, some others are making their kits freely available -- with a backdoor secretly installed in the code so those thrifty amateur phishers unknowingly export all the data they steal straight back to the malware writer, who can then sell that for a profit.

According to the report, spearphishing remains APT groups' intial attack vector of choice. It's financial fraud and similar crimes, however that were the focus of the most spearphishing attacks, accounting for 22 percent. 

Among them were business email compromise (BEC) attacks, which increased in 2015. BEC attacks begin with extensive reconaissance about the personnel within an organization. By posing as executives within the company (or company partners), phishers convince employees with spending authority to send wire transfers to attacker-controlled accounts -- sometimes taking individual companies for tens of millions of dollars.

According to the PhishLabs report, BEC fraudsters have begun to increase their use of ploys that reference mergers and acquisitions, as opposed to less sensitive operations, to "reinforce the need for secrecy." Ploys that purport to quote conversations with lawyers are particularly successful at convincing the same victim to make multiple payments.

Further, the researchers found that BEC attackers' biggest costs are managing the money mule accounts they use to receive payments and withdraw cash. It's the campaigns' largest investments, often costing more than all other overhead combined.

Other interesting findings: the top industries that were targeted by consumer phishing (not spearphishing) were finance, cloud hosting, online services, e-commerce, and payment services. The researchers also found that Gmail was attackers' drop location of choice for receiving stolen credentials, making up 57% of drop email accounts.


Related stories:

Interop 2016 Las VegasFind out more about security threats at Interop 2016, May 2-6, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas. Register today and receive an early bird discount of $200.

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Commentary
Ransomware Is Not the Problem
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  6/9/2021
Edge-DRsplash-11-edge-ask-the-experts
How Can I Test the Security of My Home-Office Employees' Routers?
John Bock, Senior Research Scientist,  6/7/2021
News
New Ransomware Group Claiming Connection to REvil Gang Surfaces
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  6/10/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Google's new See No Evil policy......
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-31664
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
RIOT-OS 2021.01 before commit 44741ff99f7a71df45420635b238b9c22093647a contains a buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-33185
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS contains a buffer overflow in the set_range test in TestBitmap which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-33186
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS in test-crypto.cpp contains a stack buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-31272
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS before commit 3844e8569689dd476064a0759d704bc64fb3ca2c contains a directory traversal vulnerability in tar/unzip that may lead to command execution or privilege escalation.
CVE-2021-31660
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
RIOT-OS 2021.01 before commit 85da504d2dc30188b89f44c3276fc5a25b31251f contains a buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.