Phishing Emails and QR Code Scams
Security-related threats have taken new directions since September of this year as attackers have evolved their methods for data phishing to bypass security measures put in place by organizations.
The benefits sought by attackers are either directly financial or login credentials gathered for various purposes.
Phishing emails usually come in two forms:
- The attacker sends an email message attempting to trick the recipient into providing login details for online banking, revealing credit card numbers, or sharing login credentials for private accounts.
- The attacker aims to gain access to a company’s accounts, thus gaining the opportunity to steal data, commit fraud, and distribute malware (e.g., for ransomware purposes). To improve the success rate, attackers are leveraging artificial intelligence. AI also assists in language proficiency – whereas phishing messages were previously poorly written in Finnish, they are now surprisingly error-free, making it more challenging for recipients to assess whether they are dealing with a fraudulent message.
Attacks are now also happening through QR codes. When a user scans the code with their mobile phone, the phone automatically bypasses all network security measures. The user is directed to a website that requests a username and password. If the user provides these credentials, the attacker gains immediate access.
A very common attack attempt involves sending so-called zero-font phishing emails. These emails directly bypass Microsoft’s security features. The email’s text appears to the phishing filter as mostly random words, but to the user, it may have a different meaning.
You can test how the filter works. Copy and paste the following text into Notepad: