Fri. Jan 21st, 2022


Attackers are profiting from the remark characteristic in Google Docs to ship folks emails with malicious hyperlinks, says Avanan.

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Picture: GrafVishenka, Getty Photos/iStockPhotos

One of many favourite techniques of cybercriminals is to take advantage of official merchandise for illegitimate functions. And the extra widespread the product, the higher the probabilities of success. A brand new report launched Thursday by e-mail safety supplier Avanan seems at a brand new phishing marketing campaign that abuses a well-liked characteristic in Google Docs to deploy malicious emails.

SEE: Social engineering: A cheat sheet for enterprise professionals (free PDF) (TechRepublic)  

To assist folks collaborate on the identical paperwork, Google Docs gives a remark characteristic. When including a remark to a doc, you possibly can embody the e-mail deal with of an individual to whom you need to assign a associated process. That motion then triggers an e-mail to the assigned particular person.

On this notably devious marketing campaign, the attackers add a remark to a Google doc after which point out the goal by typing the @ image adopted by an e-mail deal with. The total remark, nonetheless, features a malicious hyperlink that may set off a malware an infection if activated by means of the despatched e-mail.

Found by Avanan in December 2021, the assaults have primarily hit Microsoft Outlook customers however have additionally affected recipients on different e-mail platforms. To this point, greater than 500 inboxes have been focused throughout 30 completely different organizations with the hackers utilizing greater than 100 completely different Gmail accounts.

One of these phishing marketing campaign can sneak previous conventional safety defenses and cautious scrutiny for a number of key causes.

First, the e-mail itself comes from a official Google service, so it is more likely to evade detection and be trusted by customers at first look.

Second, the e-mail contains simply the attacker’s show identify and never their e-mail deal with, which implies anti-spam filters might fail to catch it. And for the reason that hacker can spoof the identify of a trusted colleague or contact, the recipient may extra simply fall for the rip-off.

Third, the sufferer does not even must entry the doc because the malicious payload is contained solely within the e-mail. The attacker needn’t even share the doc, as merely mentioning the recipient’s e-mail deal with within the remark will do the trick.

Avanan stated that it knowledgeable Google about this exploit on January 3 by means of the Report Phish By E-mail button in Gmail. Nevertheless, customers nonetheless should be looking out for this assault. To assist folks defend themselves from this rip-off, Avanan gives the next ideas:

  1. Earlier than you click on on a Google Docs remark in an e-mail, cross-reference the e-mail deal with within the remark itself to ensure it is official.
  2. Consider the standard cyber hygiene habits, corresponding to scrutinizing hyperlinks and scanning for grammatical errors.
  3. Should you’re cautious of a specific Google Docs remark e-mail, contact the precise sender to see in the event that they despatched you the remark.
  4. Ensure you and your group use sturdy safety safety, notably throughout file sharing and collaboration providers.

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