Email Phishers Using A Simple Way to Bypass MS Office 365 Protection

[Aug 16, 2018]

Security researchers have been warning about a simple technique that cyber criminals and email scammers are using in the wild to bypass most AI-powered phishing detection mechanisms implemented by widely used email services and web security scanners.

Dubbed ZeroFont, the technique involves inserting hidden words with a font size of zero within the actual content of a phishing email, keeping its visual appearance same, but at the same time, making it non-malicious in the eyes of email security scanners.

According to cloud security company Avanan, Microsoft Office 365 also fails to detect such emails as malicious crafted using ZeroFont technique.

Besides the ZeroFont technique, Avanan also detected hackers using other similar tricks that involve Punycode, Unicode, or Hexadecimal Escape Characters in their phishing attacks.

Last month, researchers from the same company reported that cybercriminals had been splitting up the malicious URL in a way that the Safe Links security feature in Office 365 fails to identify and replace the partial hyperlink, eventually redirecting victims to the phishing site.

Cyber Security Tips:

  • Always remember that any of your bank’s representatives never send you email/SMS or call you over phone to get your personal information, password or one time SMS.
  • Never click on any links provided in the emails.
  • Always log on to a any website by typing the proper URL in the address bar.
  • Immediately change your passwords if you have accidentally revealed your credentials to anyone.
  • Before providing your user id and password, ensure that the URL of the login page starts with the text ‘https://‘ and is not ‘http://’.
  • Ensure that you have installed the latest anti-virus/anti spyware/activated firewall/security patches on your computer or even your smart phones.

 

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