Hackers Attempt to Steal Microsoft Office 365 Passwords With Fake VPN Alert Phishing Emails
Fraudsters are using fake VPN update alerts to target remote workers in an effort to steal their Microsoft Office 365 credentials, according to a report by cyber security firm Abnormal Security.
In this scam, hackers send phishing emails notifying users about a supposed VPN update. When the reader clicks on a link in the email, they land on a spoof website that steals their username and password.
The sender’s email address is spoofed to impersonate the domain of the targets’ respective organizations. Up to 15,000 corporate email boxes have received this phishing email and numerous versions of this attack have been seen.
“The attack impersonates a notification email from the IT support at the recipients’ company,” the report notes. “By hiding the real URL, the user may be unaware that the site they are accessing is not the real Microsoft Office login page.”
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The phishing emails are designed using messaging that intends to trick the reader into thinking they were sent by their company’s IT department. Like many phishing emails the user is encouraged to act immediately.
The phishing emails contain a link that claims to be a “new VPN configuration home access” alert. The goal of the phishing email is to steal Microsoft Office 365 credentials. If the user clicks on the link, they’re taken to a spoof Microsoft login page where they are prompted to enter their username and password. Like many phishing emails and spoof websites, the landing page used in the fishing campaign closely resembles the real Microsoft login – it includes Microsoft log and colors.
To make it harder to detect this proof website it is hosted on a Microsoft .NET platform. It has a valid security certificate which helps the scam escape malware detection tools. The URL of the phishing site is cloaked so anyone hovering over the link doesn’t realize is not the legitimate Microsoft Office login page.
How to Do I Defend Against the Office 365 Phishing Attack?
- Be suspicious of any email that you receive from someone you don’t know
- Be suspicious of any corporate email you receive from your IT department this phishing email impersonates the employee’s own corporate email address
- Do not click on any links emails even if you think it came from Microsoft
- When in doubt, open a tab in your web browser and go to the Microsoft office 365 login page directly. Go to https://www.office.com/
- Never open or download any email attachments from someone you don’t know or weren’t expecting an attachment from even though this phishing campaign does not contain email attachments it’s still a good practice. If you receive an email with an attachment call the sender and ask if they sent it first.