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New Phishing Emails Trick Users With Convincing Security Credentials

By March 14, 2020May 19th, 2021Cybersecurity

Unit 42 is a research division of Palo Alto Networks. Their researchers have discovered a sneaky and surprisingly effective phishing campaign that appears to have been launched in January of this year (2020).

When targeted by this attack, a user will get an email containing a braded document containing the name of a legitimate cybersecurity provider.

The name of a known cybersecurity provider alone generates a certain amount of trust in the reader. In addition, the email contains a password protected document, which naturally is the kind of security that a company in the security business would utilize.

Most of the emails contain subject lines that indicate the recipient is entitled to a refund or a free security product upgrade. That builds on the trust already established and gives the user an enticement for opening the enclosed file that has been password protected “with their security in mind.”

Naturally, nothing could be further from the truth. If the user unlocks the protected file, he or she unwittingly enables the macros embedded in the file, which will then activate and install NetSupport Manager. The manager is surprisingly a completely legitimate remote access control program, but used here for nefarious purposes.

As long as it’s running quietly in the background, it gives the people who sent the email a secret inroad into the machine and the network it is connected to.

Not only is the use of a known cybersecurity firm name a sneaky bit of social engineering, but the use of a perfectly legitimate remote connection tool is as well. That is because no antivirus software on the planet would flag the tool, which gives the hackers using it in this way a completely untraceable means of gaining access to a wide range of networks.

Be on your guard against this threat. It’s insidious, and the folks behind it could do a lot of harm to your company.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.