Latest Fake SBA Loan Phishing Attack Steals Banking Credentials
Threat actors continue to use impersonate the US Small Business Administration (SBA) in attempts to steal from business owners during the pandemic. The first SBA email phishing campaign launched in April, right at the beginning of COVID-19 shutdown. Another variation of an SBA phishing campaign began this month with an even more complex and hard to detect scheme.
The SBA phishing attacks attempt to infect computers with malware, steal credentials and steal money. All three use a spoofed SBA email address.
GuLoader Malware SBA Loan Scam
In April, an early SBA loan phishing campaign was launched by threat actors at the start of COVID-19 business shutdowns. These emails included malicious attachments with names like “SBA_Disaster_Application_Confirmation_Documents_COVID_Relief.img.” If the recipient opened the email attachment it launched GuLoader which is malware used to infect a device with more malware.
This one is a straight-forward attack using a spoofed SBA email address that compromises machines with malware if the reader is not vigilant.
“Most people aren’t aware of email spoofing and believe that if the sender’s email matches that of a legitimate organization, it must be real. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and there are additional checks that need to be performed to confirm the authenticity of a sender.” Says the report by Malwarebytes
Basic SBA Phishing Scam
In a more recent SBA loan themed scam, threat actors send phishing emails in an attempt to steal sensitive information from victims. These emails were well designed to look like they are actual SBA communications.
To the casual reader it seems like these could be legitimate emails as they also spoof an SBA email address. The reader is informed their loan application is approved and that they need to review some documents. If the user clicks on the button in the email to “review” their fake documents, their credentials are stolen by a spoofed webpage.
In some instances, some of the targets of this scam had nothing to do with US Small Business Association loans.
Malwarebytes also protects against phishing emails and malware by blocking the tools used by hackers and scammers.
Complicated SBA Phishing Scam
The latest SBA phishing scam began in early August and is rather difficult to detect according to Malwarebytes. The email again appears to come from a legitimate SBA email account , but it does not. If you examine the email headers, it’s possible to see that the email is not legitimate. The average person does not know how to do this, unfortunately.
In this phishing campaign, the emails contain an attachment disguised as an SBA loan application. The malicious .pdf attachment uses SBA branding and wording making it look legit. The reader is promoted to fill it out and send it back by replying to the original email.
At this point, the spoofed reply-to email address [ @gov-sba[.]us. Address] is revealed and it is obvious the application is fraudulent.
The malicious pdf attachment asks the user for highly sensitive information, like bank account details. Some of the scams prompted the reader to pay fees to fund their SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).
Tips to protect yourself against phishing emails
- Always be extra cautious when asked to fill out any online form
- Be suspicious of any email that prompts you today bulge sensitive information whether it is in an online form, a reply email, or on a website
- Never download an email attachment if you were not expecting one from someone you know. In the case of the SBA loans, recipients should call the SBA using the phone number on their legitimate website (not a number contained in the scam email) to verify that the SBA did indeed send the request
- Never, ever send bank account information, payment card numbers, or any other sensitive information in an email – regardless of who asked for it – legitimate or not. Email is not secure
- Email addresses can easily be spoofed to trick the recipient into thinking they are legitimate. Use an antivirus or malware program to protect your email, phone, and computer against hackers
- COVID-19 related SBA loans to do require a fee to fund the loan