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    Attackers Leveraging XSS To Make Phishing Emails Increasingly Evasive

    Attackers are exploiting Reflected Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) flaws to bypass security filters, according to a new report from Vipre. This technique allows attackers to send benign links in phishing emails that will redirect users to malicious sites.

    Vipre also found that attackers are increasingly using links instead of malicious attachments in their phishing emails.

    “Three years ago, it was a 50/50 split between phishing emails utilizing links versus attachments,” the researchers write. “Last year, that ratio changed drastically in favor of links, and that lead has held into 2024. In Q1, VIPRE AV Labs analysis revealed that 75% of phishing emails leverage links, while 24% favor attachments and 1% are using QR codes (quishing).

    This is in tune with our findings which indicate that phishers are leaning into emails that encourage users to update or change their passwords – an innocuous enough ask in a climate of data privacy and hygiene.”

    Attackers try to use links to phishing sites that won’t be flagged by security filters. In the first quarter of 2024, Vipre observed a spike in links that used URL redirection to evade detection.

    “In Q1 of last year, compromised websites and newly created domains retained the two top spots,” the researchers write. “This year, they were both bumped down in a big way by URL redirection, a technique that opens a different web page when the desired web page is clicked – essentially, a bait-and-switch.

    The benefit of this, as threat actors have apparently seen in large numbers, is that the legitimate URL will avoid detection by most email security tools and users alike, while back-end, a malicious link is doing its dirty work.”

    New-school security awareness training can give your organization an essential layer of defense against social engineering attacks. KnowBe4 empowers your workforce to make smarter security decisions every day. Over 65,000 organizations worldwide trust the KnowBe4 platform to strengthen their security culture and reduce human risk.

    SC Magazine has the story.

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