May 20, 2020 By David Bisson 2 min read

Microsoft discovered numerous phishing campaigns in which malicious actors attempted to spoof its new Azure AD sign-in page.

Microsoft Security Intelligence said that the spoofing attempts against its new Azure AD sign-in page first appeared in its Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) data on May 14. In one of the operations disclosed by Microsoft that same day, malicious actors sent out attack emails with the subject line, “Business Document Received.” The messages attempted to trick recipients into clicking on what appeared to be a OneDrive document. In reality, the attachment was a PDF document that redirected recipients to a phishing site designed to look like Microsoft’s newly redesigned sign-in page.

Leveraging dozens of phishing sites, the campaign described above and others like it arrived approximately three months after the tech giant announced an update to its sign-in page. That change boiled down to visual user interface (UI) modification of the page’s background image so that the sign-in process would consume less bandwidth and load pages more quickly, as Microsoft explained at the time.

A Sign of Phishers’ Desire to Continually Adapt

The Azure AD spoofing campaigns described above represent just the latest attempt by phishers to adapt to changing times. Most commonly, this takes the form of digital fraudsters capitalizing on well-publicized disasters. Such was the case in 2010 when Forcepoint reported on scams surrounding an earthquake in Haiti. The same was true in October 2018 when Proofpoint uncovered phishing schemes leveraging Hurricane Michael as a lure. It’s therefore fitting that malicious actors are ramping up spam activity right now, as IBM Security revealed in a joint study with Morning Consult.

Defend Against Spoofed Azure AD Phishing Attacks

Security professionals can help their organizations defend against adaptive phishing attacks by building a robust security awareness training program. This type of initiative can help keep the workforce educated with regard to evolving phishing attacks and techniques. Additionally, infosec personnel should seek to balance these human controls with technical controls such as network segmentation and the implementation of a least privilege model.

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