Office workers beware: Holiday gift card spear phishing attacks on the rise

Social engineering-dependent attacks use a blend of timing and context to trick victims, according to a Thursday report from Barracuda Networks. These attacks commonly start out with an attacker impersonating a person in a situation of power inquiring workers of lesser status to transfer cash,, disguising their assault in a perfectly-timed e-mail with related details, Barracuda found.

The vacations provide the perfect context for cyberattackers, opening up a complete new earth of threat vectors. One particular big tactic cybercriminals are applying is present card spear phishing, an attack that tricks office professionals, receptionists, and executive assistants into sending reward cards to the true attacker, professing the supply is for worker benefits or a holiday getaway present, according to the report.

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Since the beginning of October, social engineering attacks through reward cards have risen significantly, the report located. Cybercriminals know that many providers ask business office managers or executive assistants to buy present cards for staff to get completely ready for the holiday getaway time. Attackers will goal people personnel, impersonating a CXO or authoritative posture, in accordance to the report. Simply because the information came from a larger up, these workforce will normally reply and immediately complete the activity.

Barracuda identified the following key techniques attackers are applying in the email requests:

  1. Request for secrecy
  2. Research of pertinent details
  3. Implied urgency

Cybercriminals could question the receiver to preserve the present card transaction a key, boasting they want to continue to keep it a holiday shock, the report observed. The attackers could also attempt to discover suitable, specific facts about the organization to include, to insert believability. Moreover, attackers normally use some form of urgent rhetoric (“Do get back to me,” “How before long can you get this finished?”) to add a little strain on the recipient to get the work done.

The assaults are likely to perform since they show up to be sent from credible e-mail addresses, do not hold any variety of destructive payload like hyperlinks or attachments, and use suitable facts to make the victim feel snug, the report pointed out.

Providers can put into action e mail protection answers to avert these assaults, and get other safeguards like security recognition training and phishing simulations to help teach employees, the report famous.

The significant takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Cybercriminals are working with social engineering-centered phishing attacks as a result of reward cards to trick staff throughout the holiday season. — Barracuda, 2018
  • The attackers pose as authoritative figures in a business and email business managers convincing them to purchase gift playing cards for personnel as a Xmas present. — Barracuda, 2018

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Picture: iStockphoto/marchmeena29

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