Top 3 Reasons Gaps in Microsoft and Proofpoint Email Security Are Leaving Organizations Vulnerable

Email Account Takeover (ATO) assaults happen when a risk actor features unauthorized entry to an e-mail account belonging to another person. Cybercriminals acquire stolen person credentials by commerce or buy on the darkish internet. Typically, the credentials are obtained by spear-phishing assaults that serve the sufferer a URL to an internet web page impersonating authentic providers like MS Office365 (Figure 1). Office365 is among the high impersonated manufacturers for e-mail internet hosting providers, in accordance with SlashNext’s Phishing Research Lab. Other high impersonated manufacturers embrace GSuite, Roundcube, Zimbra, and YandexMail.

Figure 1: Phishing webpage impersonating MS Office365 log-in display screen

Once the risk actor features unauthorized entry, the outcomes could be devastating to an organization. It can be utilized as a launchpad to hold out Business Email Compromise (BEC) assaults in opposition to its clients and companions. BEC scams had induced companies over $26 billion in losses over the past 3 years, in accordance with FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). With stakes this excessive, why do Secure Email Gateway (SEG) distributors miss the mark? Because the anti-phishing applied sciences to stop spear phishing assaults, utilized by Microsoft and Proofpoint, haven’t saved tempo with the improvements made by cybercriminals. SEG distributors nonetheless rely closely on URL repute and area token matching to fight ATO assaults. These applied sciences can block emails containing URLs which can be lately registered and URLs impersonating fashionable domains, however they usually fail to cease extra subtle assaults. Cybercriminals benefit from the weaknesses in these applied sciences. They purposely host their phishing webpages on well-known shared internet hosting suppliers corresponding to SharePoint and different file-sharing providers, to evade detection.

Microsoft and Proofpoint responded by introducing their superior risk safety options. These choices rewrite the unique URL in emails, permitting them to reinspect the URL a second time, throughout the time-of-click by customers. This method helps with detection however nonetheless falls brief for a lot of causes, together with:

  1. Using the identical inspection applied sciences that missed detecting the phishing emails throughout the preliminary scan
  2. An incapability to research the webpage content material resulting from inspection blocking as a result of the phishing webpage detects the request is coming from a datacenter IP related to SEG distributors. It purposely denies the request to stop the webpage from being scanned.
  3. Cannot rewrite the URL in the e-mail, leaving customers uncovered. Here are a few of the frequent situations that consequence in the URL not being rewritten by SEG distributors:
    • URL with out www and corresponding to
    • URL with out http:// and corresponding to
    • URLs in attachments (help is usually restricted to MS Word and PDFs attachment varieties)
    • URLs in emails obtained utilizing “on-the-fly” encryption providers like Echoworx or Zix Corp.
    • URLs in emails which can be SMIME/PGP/DKIM signed. This is configurable by the client, however rewriting URLs in SMIME/PGP/DKIM signed emails may cause the e-mail to be incorrectly rejected or quarantined.
    • URLs in the SEG vendor’s international whitelist, (i.e.,…)

SlashNext’s end-to-end phishing safety is basically completely different. We leverage dynamic run-time evaluation utilizing digital browsers and deep studying. The identical stringent methodology is utilized to all webpages, permitting SlashNext to detect phishing internet pages hosted on shared internet hosting suppliers, hours, and generally days forward of the competitors. SlashNext options assist shut the gaps discovered in SEG options and prolong safety to much less well-defended assault vectors corresponding to private e-mail, social media, and collaboration platforms.

To see how SlashNext, the primary authority in phishing, can shield your workforce from the rising variety of subtle phishing threats contact us to request a demo as we speak.

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated weblog from SlashNext authored by (*3*). Read the unique publish at:

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