Threat actors are using encoded phishing links to evade security filters, according to Jeremy Fuchs at Avanan. The phishing emails purport to be notifications from McAfee informing the user that they need to renew their subscription.
“This is a fairly standard McAfee subscription scam,” Fuchs says. “We see these all the time and they’ve been floating around the Internet for some time. But that’s not what makes this attack unique. What makes it unique is what’s hiding under the Renew Membership button. It’s linked to the following IP address: 0xd.0125.0×50.0236.”
This IP address is encoded and will transform into a normal format when the link is clicked, taking the user to a phishing page.
“What’s happening is that attackers are hiding the intent of the target page,” Fuchs writes. “Because URL filters are unable to determine the intent of an obfuscated page, the malicious email can reach the inbox. The idea is to blind anti-phishing scanners so that they can’t see the danger. This allows the end goal, in this case, malicious sites, to more easily make the inbox. And since users can’t see the obfuscation, they are more likely to click.”
Despite the clever use of an obfuscated link, a trained user would be able to recognize the scam before clicking on the link.
“This email is probably not the hackers’ strongest offering–the McAfee renewal scam has been around forever,” Fuchs says. “The sender address isn’t legitimate. The reply-to address is different from the sender address. The link–both the seen version and the magic version–aren’t typical links, they are just IP addresses. So there are many things that would tip off an eagle-eyed end-user.”
New-school security awareness training can teach your employees how to recognize social engineering attacks.
Free Phishing Security Test
Would your users fall for convincing phishing attacks? Take the first step now and find out before bad actors do. Plus, see how you stack up against your peers with phishing Industry Benchmarks. The Phish-prone percentage is usually higher than you expect and is great ammo to get budget.
Here’s how it works:
- Immediately start your test for up to 100 users (no need to talk to anyone)
- Select from 20+ languages and customize the phishing test template based on your environment
- Choose the landing page your users see after they click
- Show users which red flags they missed, or a 404 page
- Get a PDF emailed to you in 24 hours with your Phish-prone % and charts to share with management
- See how your organization compares to others in your industry
PS: Don’t like to click on redirected buttons? Cut & Paste this link in your browser: https://info.knowbe4.com/phishing-security-test-partner?partnerid=001a000001lWEoJAAW