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A Provider of Cyber Security Training Loses 28,000 Items of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) In a Data Breach


A provider of cybersecurity training and certification services, 'The Sans Institute', lost roughly 28,000 items of personally identifiable information (PII) in a data breach that happened after a solitary staff part succumbed to a phishing attack. 

The organization discovered the leak on 6 August 2020, when it was leading a systematic review of its email configuration and rules. 

During this process, its IT group identified a dubious forwarding rule and a malignant Microsoft Office 365 add-in that together had the option to forward 513 emails from a particular individual's account to an unknown external email address before being detected. 

While the majority of these messages were innocuous, however, a number included files that contained information including email addresses, first and last names, work titles, company names and details, addresses, and countries of residence. 

Sans is currently directing a digital forensics investigation headed up by its own cybersecurity instructors and is working both to ensure that no other data was undermined and to recognize areas in which it can harden its systems. 

When the investigation is complete, the organization intends to impart all its findings and learnings to the extensive cybersecurity community. 

Lastly, Point3 Security strategy vice-president, Chloé Messdaghi, says that "Phishers definitely understand the human element, and they work to understand peoples’ pain points and passions to make their emails more compelling. They also know when to send a phishing email to drive immediate responses." 

And hence she concluded by adding that "The final takeaway is that we all need to stay aware and humble – if a phishing attack can snag someone at the Sans Institute, it can happen to any of us who let our guard down."

Microsoft Office 365 Users Targeted By a New Phishing Campaign Using Fake Zoom Notifications



As people across the world struggle to survive the onslaught of the corona pandemic by switching to the work-from-home criteria, the usage and demand of cloud-based communication platform providing users with audio and videoconferencing services have seen a sudden upsurge.

Zoom is one such platform that has from the beginning of 2020 has seen an extremely high increase of new monthly active users after a huge number of employees have adopted remote working.

However recently Microsoft Office 365 users are being targeted by a brand new phishing campaign that utilizes fake Zoom notifications to caution the users who work in corporate environments that their Zoom accounts have been suspended, with the ultimate goal of stealing Office 365 logins.

Reports are as such that those targeted by this campaign are all the more ready to believe in such emails during this time since the number of remote workers participating in daily online meetings through video conferencing platforms, as Zoom has definitely increased because of stay-at-home orders or lockdowns brought about by the pandemic.

 As of now the phishing campaign mimicking automated Zoom account suspension alerts has received by more than 50,000 mailboxes based on details given by researchers as email security company Abnormal Security who recognized these continuous attacks.

The phishing messages spoof an official Zoom email address and are intended to imitate a real automated Zoom notification.

Utilizing a spoofed email address and an email body practically free from any grammar blunders or typos (other than a self-evident 'zoom' rather than 'Zoom account') makes these phishing messages all the more persuading and conceivably more viable.

The utilization of a lively "Happy Zooming!" toward the end of the email could raise a few cautions however, as it doesn't exactly fit with the rest of the message's tone.




As soon as the users click the "Activate Account" button, they are redirected to a fake Microsoft login page through 'an intermediary hijacked site'.

On the phishing landing page, they are asked to include their Outlook credentials in a form intended to exfiltrate their account subtleties to attacked controlled servers.

On the off chance that they succumb to the attackers' tricks, the victims' Microsoft credentials will be utilized to assume full control for their accounts and all their data will be ready for the picking, later to be utilized as a part of identity theft and fraud schemes like the Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks.

Despite the fact that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had warned of BEC abusing popular cloud email services, like Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite through Private Industry Notifications issued in March and in April.

Even after this, Office 365 users are continuously targeted by phishing campaigns with the ultimate objective of reaping their credentials.

Regardless Microsoft has warned of phishers' ongoing movement to new types of phishing strategies, like consent phishing, other than conventional email phishing and credential theft attacks.

Microsoft Partner Group PM Manager Agnieszka Girling says, "While application use has accelerated and enabled employees to be productive remotely, attackers are looking at leveraging application-based attacks to gain unwarranted access to valuable data in cloud services,"

The company additionally has made a legal move to destroy some portion of the attack infrastructure used to host malignant 365 OAuth apps utilized in consent phishing to seize victims' Office 365 accounts.

Phishing Attacks Can Now Dodge Microsoft 365's Multi-Factor Authentication


Of late a phishing attack was found to be stealing confidential user data that was stored on the cloud.
As per sources, this is the work of a new phishing campaign that dodges the Office 365 Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to acquire the target’s cloud-stored data and uses it as bait to extract a ransom in Bitcoin.

Per reports, researchers discovered that the campaign influences the “OAuth2 framework and OpenID Connect (OIDC) protocol”. It employs a malicious “SharePoint” link to fool the targets into giving permission to “rogue” applications.

MFAs are used as a plan B in cases where the users’ passwords have been discovered. This phishing attack is different because it tries to fool its targets into helping the mal-actors dodge the MFA by giving permissions.

This campaign is not just about gaining ransoms via exploiting the stolen data it is that and the additional threat of having sensitive and personal information at large for others to exploit as well. Extortion and blackmail are among the first things that the data could be misused for.

Sources mentioned that via obtaining basic emails and information from the target’s device, the attacker could easily design “hyper-realistic Reply-Chain phishing emails.”

The phishing campaign employs a commonplace invite for a SharePoint file, which happens to be providing information regarding a “salary bonus”, which is good enough for perfunctory readers to get trapped, mention reports.

The link when clicked on redirects the target to an authentic login page of Microsoft Office 365. But if looked on closely, the URL looks fishy and created without much attention to detail, thus say the security experts.

Reportedly, access to Office 365 is acquired by getting a token from the Microsoft Identity Platform and then through Microsoft Graph authorizations. OIDC is used to check on the user granting the access if authentication comes through then the OAuth2 grants access for the application. During the process, the credentials aren’t revealed to the application.

The URL contains “key parameters” that explain how targets could be tricked into granting permissions to rogue applications on their account. Key parameters signify the kind of access that is being demanded by the Microsoft Identity Platform. In the above-mentioned attack, the request included the ID token and authentication code, mentioned sources.

If the target signs in on the SharePoint link that was delivered via the email they’ll be providing the above-mentioned permissions. If the target doesn’t do so, it will be the job of the domain administrators to handle any dubious activities.

This phishing campaign is just an example of how these attack mechanisms have evolved over the years, to such an extent that they could now try to extort sensitive data out of people seemingly by tricking them into providing permissions without an inkling of an idea of what is actually up.