Brand-impersonation and form-based attacks are rising

Google sites alone accounted for 65% of all form-based attacks between January and April

Hacking on keyboard

Brand-impersonation attacks using Googlebrandforms to dupe victims into sharing login credentials are reportedly on the rise.

Barracuda researchers have observed steady detections of spear-phishing campaigns throughout the first part of 2020, and form-based attacks made up 4% of them between January and April. Barracuda expects the number of these attacks to rise too. 

In these form-based attacks, scammers are using file and content sharing, and sites like Google Drive and sway.office.com to trick victims into handing over their login credentials. Users typically receive a phishing email containing a link to one of these websites, making this hacking technique difficult to detect for some. 

Of the nearly 100,000 form-based attacks detected by Barracuda between Jan. 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, threat actors used Google file sharing and storage websites in 65% of their attacks. According to Barracuda, that number includes storage.googleapis.com (25%), docs.google.com (23%), storage.cloud.google.com (13%), and drive.google.com (4%). 

In comparison, Microsoft brands were used in 13% of attacks. Other brands used include sendgrid.net (10%), mailchimp.com (4%), and formcrafts.com (2%).

According to Barracuda, the three most common tactics used in these form-based and brand-impersonation attacks include:

  • Using legitimate sites as intermediaries: By impersonating emails from sites like OneDrive, attackers can lead unsuspecting victims to phishing sites via a legitimate file-sharing site. “The attacker sends an email with a link that leads to a file stored on a site like sway.office.com, for example. The file contains a picture with a link to a phishing site asking for credentials to login,” says Barracuda. 
  • Crafting online forms geared towards phishing: Attackers create and send an online form that resembles a login page of a legitimate service but is ultimately designed to harvest a user’s credentials.
  • Gaining access to accounts without passwords: In this attack, a hacker sends a phishing email containing a link to what appears to be a legitimate login page. This link also contains a request for an app access token. After a user enters their credentials, they are presented a list of app permissions to accept. By accepting these permissions, users give up their password information while also granting the attacker’s app an access token that allows them to use a user’s login credentials. 

Fortunately, there are ways users can protect themselves from these brand-impersonation attacks. By using an API-based inbox defense tool, users can prevent phishing emails from entering their inboxes. 

Tools such as multi-factor authentication can also protect user accounts from attackers. And as always, keeping up to date on the latest phishing attacks is a worthwhile defense too.

Featured Resources

The complete guide to changing your phone system provider

Optimise your phone system for better business results

Download now

Simplify cluster security at scale

Centralised secrets management across hybrid, multi-cloud environments

Download now

The endpoint as a key element of your security infrastructure

Threats to endpoints in a world of remote working

Download now

2021 state of IT asset management report

The role of IT asset management for maximising technology investments

Download now

Recommended

What is hacktivism?
hacking

What is hacktivism?

13 Oct 2020
Microsoft: Iranian hackers are exploiting ZeroLogon flaw
Security

Microsoft: Iranian hackers are exploiting ZeroLogon flaw

6 Oct 2020
The Ritz suffers data breach after hackers pose as staff
data breaches

The Ritz suffers data breach after hackers pose as staff

17 Aug 2020
Russia hacked Liam Fox's personal email to steal trade documents
phishing

Russia hacked Liam Fox's personal email to steal trade documents

4 Aug 2020

Most Popular

Microsoft CEO warns of video call fatigue
video conferencing

Microsoft CEO warns of video call fatigue

7 Oct 2020
Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 launches with PCIe support
Hardware

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 launches with PCIe support

19 Oct 2020
Google blocked record-breaking 2.5Tbps DDoS attack in 2017
Security

Google blocked record-breaking 2.5Tbps DDoS attack in 2017

19 Oct 2020