Researchers at Malwarebytes warn that a phishing campaign is informing users that someone logged into their account from an IP address in Moscow. The email contains a button to report the issue, which “opens a fresh email with a pre-filled message to be sent to a specific email account.” If a user sends this email, the attacker will reply and attempt to rope them further into the scam.
The researchers note that while the timing may be coincidental, users will probably be more inclined to respond to the emails given the current situation with Russia and Ukraine.
“We have to be very clear here that anybody could have put this mail together, and may well not have anything to do with Russia directly,” the researchers write. “This is the kind of thing anyone anywhere can piece together in ten minutes flat, and mails of this nature have been bouncing around for years. But, given current world events, seeing ‘unusual sign-in activity from Russia’ is going to make most people do a double, and it’s perfect spam bait material for that very reason.”
Malwarebytes explains that this is a common but effective technique used in phishing attacks.
“Trying to panic people into hitting a button or click a link is an ancient social engineering tactic, but it sticks around because it works,” the researchers write. “We’ve likely all received a ‘bank details invalid,’ or ‘mysterious payment rejected’ message at one point or another. Depending on personal circumstance and/or what’s happening in the world at any given moment, one person’s ‘big deal’ is another one’s ‘oh no, my stuff,’” the researchers write. “That’s all it may take for some folks to lose their login, and this mail is perhaps more salient than most for the time being.”
Note how topical scams can be. Criminals and spymasters watch the news and cut their phishbait to fit current events. New-school security awareness training can give your employees a healthy sense of suspicion so they can avoid falling for social engineering attacks.
Malwarebytes has the story.