A malwareless and linkless phishing attack uses sextortion and the threat of legal action to get the attention of potential victims and get them to respond.
Usually, the intent of a phishing attack is evident. For example, if the attack is pretending to be Microsoft and sends you to a spoofed login page, the whole point of the attack is to harvest the victim’s Microsoft 365 credentials. But in the case of a new phishing attack documented by cybersecurity vendor Heimdal Security, there are no indicators of what the cybercriminal's end game really is.
In their analysis of the attack – which includes a PDF attachment – they find impersonation of the National Danish Police, but no signs of malware, scripts, links, etc.
The only leading indicator of where this attack leads is found in the PDF (which includes a summons of the recipient for child pornography), where the recipient is urged to provide an immediate response (via email, we assume, as there is no other means of contact provided). I assume the goal is to get the recipient victim to pay a “fine” to make the summons go away. This phishing attack lacks some of the normal paths one can follow to determine its intended outcome.
According to Heimdal, the email address persona this attack targeted was “indiscriminate," with emails being sent to “small office/home users, home users, mobile users, power users, and large business users."
This kind of attack – where law enforcement is impersonated – isn’t new. But targeting business users as part of what would normally be a personal matter seems odd. It may just be an attack from someone new to cybercrime. Regardless, ensuring your users are vigilant against false emails is imperative – something developed through continual security awareness training.
I doubt attacks with no specific endgame in sight are going to trend with cybercriminals (as they are far more likely to fail), but one can hope, right?