New FireEye Email Threat Report Reveals Increase in Social Engineering Attacks
In the report,
- Phishing Attacks Rose by 17%: A typical phishing email impersonates a well-known contact or trusted company to induce the recipient to click on an embedded link, with the ultimate goal of credential or credit card harvesting. During Q1’19,
FireEyesaw these type of attacks increase by 17% over the prior quarter. The top spoofed brands across these activities included Microsoft, with almost 30% of all detections – followed by OneDrive, Apple, PayPaland Amazon, each within the 6-7% range.
- Use of HTTPS in URL Based Attacks Climbed 26%: In 2018,
FireEyereported that URL-based attacks had overtaken attachment-based attacks as a means of delivery. This trend continued in Q1’19. Notably, FireEyesaw a 26% quarter-over-quarter increase in malicious URLs using HTTPS. This indicated malicious actors are taking advantage of the common consumer perception that HTTPS is a “safer” option to engage on the internet.
- File Sharing Services Exploited to Deliver Malicious Payloads: Cloud-based attacks, particularly those leveraging file-sharing services, increased in Q1’19. Analysis of Q1’19 emails showed a dramatic increase in links to malicious files posted to popular and trusted file-sharing services, such as WeTransfer,
Google Driveand OneDrive. Dropboxwas the most commonly used.
- New Impersonation Variants Focused on Payroll and the Supply Chain: Threat actors continued to increase their usage of CEO impersonation fraud. They also diversified their approach. Historically, this cyber “cash cow” attack has targeted an organization’s Accounts Payable department with a spoofed email from the CEO or other senior leader. Over the last quarter,
FireEyeobserved threat actors increasingly using two new variants:
Payroll: This new variant targets an organization’s Payroll department with an email requesting changes to an executive’s personal data, such as bank details, with the objective of diverting an executive’s salary to a third-party account.
Supply Chain: This new variant targets the Accounts Payable department by impersonating an email from a trusted supplier (instead of the CEO or senior executive) to re-route a fraudulent payment to a third-party account.
“Threat actors are doing their homework. We’re seeing new variants of impersonation attacks that target new contacts and departments within organizations,” said
Methodology and Resources
The FireEye Email Threat Report is the result of FireEye’s analysis of a sample set of 1.3 billion emails from January through
The company’s extensive knowledge of the threat environment and attacker tools and techniques enables FireEye Email Security to detect and protect organizations from the advanced email threats other solutions miss. For a free email analysis, visit www.fireeye.com/email