Phishing Attack Prevention: Don’t Get Fooled By These Phishing Techniques

Phishing Attackers are the most common security challenges faced by both individuals and companies from keeping their information secure or getting infected by malware. Most commonly attackers target users through phishing emails which are identified by experienced users by spelling errors, absurd scenarios, and dubious attachments.

However, not all phishing attacks are as obvious and assuming that they can lead to a misleading sense of security. These are so well-crafted that they can trick even the most experienced users. When phishing emails get some of the advanced tactics discussed in this post, they become even more compelling.

Exploiting Common Web Vulnerabilities to Create Malicious Links, When we think of website flaws, photos of large-scale attacks and tragic data breaches come to mind. The most prominent security flaws, on the other hand, are much more mundane.

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They rarely result in a full takeover of a website, but often provide attackers with a minor victory, such as access to privileged data or the ability to inject malicious code into a page.

Certain types of vulnerabilities cause a web domain to be used to generate a URL that appears to come from the site page but is secretly under the control of the hackers.

These “legitimate” URLs are particularly useful for email scammers as they’re more likely to circumvent filtering or evade victim notification.

Open Redirects

Open redirections vulnerabilities don’t get enough attention from developers because they don’t directly impact the website. However, this doesn’t mean it’s not a security threat instead the attackers can use that opportunity to make phishing attacks look more credible and effective.

For example, if your domain is example.com, the attacker may create the following URL:

https://example.com/redirect.php?url=http://attacker.com

The attacker sends the URL as part of a phishing attempt to redirect the victim to a malicious website attacker.com. The attacker would be hoping that example.com at the beginning will have a trustworthy appearance and make them fall for the phishing scam.

Redirect in Google Search

Google search has a variant of this issue. Every link you see in a search result page is actually a redirect from Google that looks something like this:

https://www.google.com/url?<some parameters>&ved=<some token>&url=<site's url>&usg=<some token>

This allows you to keep track of clicks for analytics, but can also help you create an override connection from the domain of Google, which can be used for phishing on any website indexed by Google.

This has been used many times before in the wild, but Google does not consider the redirect feature to be a flaw enough.

Cross-Site Scripting

Cross-site scripting (XSS) happens when a site fails to sanitize input from the user, allowing hackers to inject malicious JavaScript code.

You can change or rewrite the content of a page with JavaScript.

XSS Takes A Few Different Shapes:

  • Reflected XSS: Malicious code is included in the page submission. This could take the form of a URL such as http://example.com/message.php?<script src=evil.js>
  • Stored XSS: The code of the JavaScript is stored on the webserver directly. In this scenario, the phishing connection may be a legal URL with nothing in the address itself questionable.

Don’t Be Fooled

In order to avoid being tricked by one of these malicious links, read the URL destination carefully you came across in your emails and pay attention to anything that might look like a redirect or JavaScript code.

URL Encoding in Malicious Links

URL encoding is a way of representing characters using the percent sign and a pair of hexadecimal characters, used for characters in URLs that could confuse your browser. For example, / (forward slash) is encoded as %2F.

Consider the following address:

http://example.com/%67%6F%2E%70%68%70%3F%75%72%6C%3D%68%74%74%70%3A%2F%2F%65%76%69%6C%2E%63%6F%6D

It resolves to http://example.com/go.php?url=http://attacker.com after the URL encoding is decoded.

It’s an open redirect, to be sure!

An attacker may take advantage of this in several ways:

  • Some email protection filters aren’t programmed well enough to correctly decipher URLs before checking them, causing malicious links to slip through.
  • The strange-looking shape of the URL has the potential to mislead you as a customer.

It resolves to http://example.com/go.php?url=http://attacker.com after the URL encoding is decoded.

An Intruder May Reap The Benefits of This in Several Ways:

Some email protection filters aren’t programmed well enough to correctly decipher URLs before checking them, causing malicious links to slip through.

The strange-looking shape of the URL has the potential to mislead you as a customer.

example.com/go.php%3Furl%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fattacker.com

In addition to one of these methods for generating a malicious connection from a trustworthy domain, this technique may be especially useful.

To stop being duped, follow these steps: Examine the URLs of any connections you find in emails again, with particular attention to possible URL-encoded characters. Any connections with several percent signals can be avoided. If you’re unsure, use a URL decoder to see the URL’s true type.

Advanced Techniques for Bypassing Filters

In particular, such methods are designed to fool e-mail filtering and ransomware rather than the victims themselves.

Modifying Brand Logos to Bypass Filters

Hackers also distribute their logo in phishing emails to trustworthy businesses. To counter this, certain authentication filters can search and match the photos of incoming emails to a database of recognized business logos.

This works well enough if the picture is not altered, but it also takes some small changes to the logo to circumvent the filter.

Obfuscated Code in Attachments

Any attachment for viruses or known malware would be scanned using an excellent email protection scheme, but these controls are also not easy to avoid. One way to do this is to obscure the code: The assailant changes the malicious code into a complex and intricate mess. The output is identical, but coding is difficult to decrypt.

Here are a few tips to prevent these tactics from being caught:

  • Don’t trust any images in emails automatically. In your email app, consider blocking photos together.
  • Do not download attachments unless you have confidence in the sender.
  • Know that even by scanning a virus, a file is not clean.

Phishing Isn’t Going Anywhere

The truth is that phishing attempts are not always easy to spot. Spam filtering and device testing continue to develop, but many spam emails are still cracked. Even experienced power users could be fooled by an attack, especially if its techniques are particularly advanced.

So there’s a lot of understanding. You will of the risk of becoming a victim by familiarizing yourself with the tactics of scammers and practicing good safety procedures.

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