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Office 365 phishing abuses Google Ads to bypass email filters

Office 365

An Office 365 phishing campaign abused Google Ads to bypass secure email gateways (SEGs), redirecting employees of targeted organizations to phishing landing pages and stealing their Microsoft credentials.

The attackers behind these attacks took advantage of the fact that the domains used by Google’s Ads platform are overlooked by SEGs, which allows them to deliver their phishing messages to their targets’ inboxes bypassing email filters.

SEGs are designed to block spam and phishing attempts from reaching their users’ mailboxes using filtering stacks that will scan all incoming emails for malicious content.

Potential victims are informed of recent policy changes and are asked to accept the changes to be able to continue using services.

The accept button embedded within the phishing emails, however, will redirect the victims to phishing landing pages with the help of a Google Ads redirect.

This hints at the fact that the attackers paid for a Google ad and then used the ad’s URL to redirect targets to pages used to steal Office 365 credentials, thus making sure that the victims always receive their phishing messages.

The phishing pages used in this campaign are designed to mimic legitimate Microsoft pages, featuring a Microsoft logo and the targets’ company logo.

Targets are first sent to a cloned Microsoft privacy policy page and then to the final phishing page that mimics the victims’ company-branded Office 365 sign-in pages

Once they entered their credentials and hit the “Next” button, their account info was immediately sent to the phishers and they were sent to a new page displaying a “We’ve updated our terms.” message.

As a final measure designed to hide the attack from the victims, the employees who fell victim to this phishing attack were sent to the Microsoft Services Agreement page.

Once an attacker has compromised one account within your organisation, they can use that account to launch more targeted attacks against other employees. New-school security awareness training can create a culture of security within your organisation, enabling your employees to identify phishing emails and instilling in them the importance of multi-factor authentication.

With thanks to the Cyber Defence Alliance and Bleeping Computer. The full story is here: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/office-365-phishing-abuses-google-ads-to-bypass-email-filters/

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