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What is a Look-alike Domain?

By definition, a look-alike domain is a nearly identical, slightly altered domain name, registered with intent to deceive. Cybercriminals register hundreds of thousands of look-alike domains each year with the goal of impersonating legitimate brands and making money, usually by committing fraud. In this post, we'll describe how domains help us communicate on the Internet, the anatomy of a look...
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Phishing Campaign Uses Malicious Office 365 App

Most phishing campaigns use social engineering and brand impersonation to attempt to take over accounts and trick the victim into divulging their credentials. PhishLabs has uncovered a previously unseen tactic by attackers that uses a malicious Microsoft Office 365 App to gain access to a victim's account without requiring them to give up their credentials to the attackers. In this technique, the...
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Top 7 Use Cases for Digital Risk Protection

Today's enterprises are experiencing an accelerated digital transformation due to the pandemic, and adoption of initiatives that would normally span years are being fast-tracked to support remote workforces and transition to new platforms. The external digital landscape is also rapidly expanding, and organizations are being required to conduct business more frequently through non-traditional...
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Ransomware Groups Break Promises, Leak Data Anyway

While paying ransoms to cybercriminals remains very controversial, the trend of ransomware groups threatening to leak sensitive data has added another layer of complexity to an already difficult decision. Should organizations pay up? Or should they refuse? According to a recent report, it may not matter. Data stolen in ransomware attacks is frequently becoming public even after the victim has paid...
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As Screen Time Skyrockets, So Does Threat of Fake Apps

App downloads fueled by COVID-19 lockdowns leapt to 37.5 billion in Q2 of this year, and collective global app usage is surging. Android users' screen time stands out significantly, with an increase of 25% above the weekly average from the previous year. As apps continue to be an integral part of how we conduct business and perform sensitive tasks, bad actors are using fake and unethical apps to...
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How to Detect Look-alike Domain Registrations

Malicious domains are attributed to a wide variety of cyber attacks capable of undermining a brand's credibility. A spoofed domain is easy and quick to create, and can act as the catalyst for malicious email campaigns and phishing sites. In order to detect and action domain threats targeting your organization, security teams need to implement mature and progressive processes for collection and...
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Encryption to Double Extortion: Ransomware's Rapid Evolution

Threat actors are leveraging stolen data to enhance ransomware attacks. Data leaks and ransomware - once considered two distinct threats - are overlapping into a hybrid tactic known as double extortion. While traditional ransomware attacks deny access to valuable systems and data, double extortion threatens to leak sensitive data if the ransom is not paid. Data Leaks on the Rise In Q1, more than 8...
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Limited Impact of Phishing Site Blocklists and Browser Warnings

The life of a phishing site is brief, but impactful. A study published earlier this year found the average time span between the first and last victim of a phishing attack is just 21 hours. The same study observed the average phishing site shows up in industry blocklist feeds nearly 9 hours after the first victim visit. By that time, most of the damage is done. Blocklists are an important part of...
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$2.3M Stolen from Wisconsin GOP via BEC Attack

With Election Day just around the corner, the Republican Party of Wisconsin revealed that $2.3M was recently stolen from election funds intended to support the re-election of President Trump. According to their statement, they are victims of a Business Email Compromise phishing attack that altered invoices to direct payments to accounts controlled by the threat actor. BEC attacks like this are...
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Ryuk Ransomware Targeting Healthcare

As if the COVID-19 pandemic were not enough, the healthcare sector is now being actively targeted by threat actors using Ryuk ransomware. Yesterday, the FBI issued an increased and imminent cyber threat warning amid growing reports of healthcare providers falling victim to the campaign. The threat actors are using Trickbot (delivered via Emotet) to gain access to target systems and deploy Ryuk...
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How URL Tracking Systems are Abused for Phishing

Widely-used URL tracking systems are often abused in phishing attacks. The domains used by these systems are commonly known and trusted, making them attractive carriers for phishing URLs. To illustrate how it works, this post breaks down a recently-observed phishing attack that uses Google Ads' tracking system to evade email filters. How it works Piggybacking on a domain is appealing to threat...
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Planetary Reef: Cybercriminal Hosting and Phishing-as-a-Service Threat Actor

PhishLabs is monitoring a threat actor group that has set up fraudulent hosting companies with leased IP space from a legitimate reseller. They are using this infrastructure for bulletproof hosting services as well as to carry out their own phishing attacks. The group, which is based in Indonesia, has been dubbed Planetary Reef. Planetary Reef is most notable in how they host phishing sites. While...
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Eliminating the Threat of Look-alike Domains

There are many ways look-alike domains can be used by threat actors. While business email compromise (BEC) and phishing sites are often top-of-mind for defenders, there are dozens of other uses for look-alike domains. This variation, as well as diverse registrar requirements for removal, can make mitigating look-alike domains a complex, burdensome, and often ineffective process. In this post, we...
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What is Digital Risk Protection?

Digital Risk Protection is defined as an operational process that combines intelligence, detection, and response to mitigate attacks across the external digital risk landscape. Today's enterprise attack surface is not limited to the corporate network. In fact, the network is just a small slice. When it comes to deciding how and where to attack an enterprise, threat actors have ample opportunity...
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Digital Risk Protection vs. Threat Intelligence

Digital Risk Protection (DRP) continues to gain momentum and attention among CISOs and security professionals. DRP, an operational security function once classified under Threat Intelligence (TI), has been elevated by the Gartner Hype Cycle and other analyst research as an emerging security function that security teams rely on to address multiple external cyber threat use cases. Many enterprises...
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How to Take Down Social Media Threats

Threat actors increasingly use social media to attack brands, VIPs, and customers. The types of threats on these platforms are diverse and each social network has different policies in place for how they respond to reported attacks. As a result, mitigating threats on social media can be a frustrating and time-consuming process for security teams. In this post, we break down some common social...
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Social Media Intelligence: Cutting Through the Noise

Social media is rapidly becoming the preferred online channel for threat actors. Almost four billion people use some form of social media, and organizations are increasingly reliant on company pages, executive presence, and positive customer interaction to build a strong brand. As a result, a malicious post or tweet can cause irreversible damage to an enterprise. Last year, 53% of all social media...
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APWG: SSL Certificates No Longer Indication of Safe Browsing

The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) has released its Phishing Activity Trends Report analyzing phishing attacks and identifying theft techniques reported by its members for Q2 of 2020. Key highlights of the report include a significant increase in wire transfer loss attributed to business email compromise (BEC) attacks and a 20% increase in BEC attacks targeting the social media sector. In...
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Royal Ripper: Multi-Stage Phishing Attack Adapts to Victim Input

PhishLabs is monitoring a multi-stage phishing campaign that impersonates government entities and telecoms to target financial institutions and their customers. The threat actor behind the attacks has been designated Royal Ripper. The initial stage of the attack harvests personal information and the sort code of the victim's bank. It then uses the sort code to redirect the victim to a second...
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Navigating Social Media Threats : A Digital Risk Protection Playbook

Social media is rapidly growing as a preferred channel for threat actors targeting enterprises with malicious campaigns. Half of the global population uses social media, and a post containing sensitive data or impersonating a high-level executive can be shared instantly, for 3.8 billion people to see. There are many types of social media threats that bad actors use to harm their victims, and they...