A new batch of U.K. phishing campaigns is using compromised email contacts to lure targets from the engineering, transport and defense sectors.

According to a recent advisory from the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a “widespread phishing campaign” is now affecting multiple industries. All the phishing samples the researchers observed were similarly themed, indicating that the attacks are likely part of a larger, connected effort to compromise the engineering, transport and defense industries. While the NCSC has yet to identify the source of this campaign, it noted that “the tools and techniques used suggest criminal involvement.”

According to the advisory, potential victims receive an email from one of their supply chain contacts whose account has been compromised. The message asks the recipient to visit a URL contained in the email or open an attached PDF that leads to a URL. In both cases, users are directed to cloned login pages for popular services such as Office365, OneDrive and Apple. The cybercriminals then attempt to capture and exploit this login data.

Industry-Focused Attacks Catch Companies Off-Guard

This type of industry-focused phishing campaign is particularly worrisome for enterprise security because it uses compromised supply chain contacts. When a recipient receives a legitimate-looking email from a familiar account, they lower their guard. As these emails are combined with convincing login pages, victims are often willing to supply their credentials — and even solid security training may fall short here, as attackers work hard to disguise their intent.

Beyond the potential for cybercriminals to compromise valuable productivity tools such as Office365 and OneDrive, there’s also the problem of ongoing infection. With so many services and logins to manage, many organizations use the same credentials for each one. Users, meanwhile, often duplicate passwords, giving cybercriminals everything they need to attack multiple services from a single point of compromise.

How to Protect Users From Phishing Campaigns

To protect corporate networks from industry-specific phishing campaigns, IBM experts recommend implementing a multilayered approach that includes spam control and monitoring, mail scanning via external services, perimeter protection, internal network verification and mail client protection systems at the device level.

Security experts also suggest implementing training that focuses on key characteristics of business email compromise (BEC). This training should teach employees how to spot and report emails marked “urgent,” “priority” or “sensitive” from supply chain contacts, and inform users that their social media posts may be used to implement social engineering attacks.

Source: National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)

More from

New Attack Targets Online Customer Service Channels

An unknown attacker group is targeting customer service agents at gambling and gaming companies with a new malware effort. Known as IceBreaker, the code is capable of stealing passwords and cookies, exfiltrating files, taking screenshots and running custom VBS scripts. While these are fairly standard functions, what sets IceBreaker apart is its infection vector. Malicious actors are leveraging the helpful nature of customer service agents to deliver their payload and drive the infection process. Here’s a look at how IceBreaker…

Operational Technology: The evolving threats that might shift regulatory policy

Listen to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you find your favorite audio content. Attacks on Operational Technology (OT) and Industrial Control Systems (ICS) grabbed the headlines more often in 2022 — a direct result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparking a growing willingness on behalf of criminals to target the ICS of critical infrastructure. Conversations about what could happen if these kinds of systems were compromised were once relegated to “what ifs” and disaster movie scripts. But those days are…

Cybersecurity 101: What is Attack Surface Management?

There were over 4,100 publicly disclosed data breaches in 2022, exposing about 22 billion records. Criminals can use stolen data for identity theft, financial fraud or to launch ransomware attacks. While these threats loom large on the horizon, attack surface management (ASM) seeks to combat them. ASM is a cybersecurity approach that continuously monitors an organization’s IT infrastructure to identify and remediate potential points of attack. Here’s how it can give your organization an edge. Understanding Attack Surface Management Here…

Six Ways to Secure Your Organization on a Smaller Budget

My LinkedIn feed has been filled with connections announcing they have been laid off and are looking for work. While it seems that no industry has been spared from uncertainty, my feed suggests tech has been hit the hardest. Headlines confirm my anecdotal experience. Many companies must now protect their systems from more sophisticated threats with fewer resources — both human and technical. Cobalt’s 2022 The State of Pentesting Report found that 90% of short-staffed teams are struggling to monitor…