Brand-impersonation and form-based attacks are rising

Google sites alone accounted for 65% of all form-based attacks between January and April

Hacking on keyboard

Brand-impersonation attacks using Googlebrandforms to dupe victims into sharing login credentials are reportedly on the rise.

Barracuda researchers have observed steady detections of spear-phishing campaigns throughout the first part of 2020, and form-based attacks made up 4% of them between January and April. Barracuda expects the number of these attacks to rise too. 

In these form-based attacks, scammers are using file and content sharing, and sites like Google Drive and sway.office.com to trick victims into handing over their login credentials. Users typically receive a phishing email containing a link to one of these websites, making this hacking technique difficult to detect for some. 

Of the nearly 100,000 form-based attacks detected by Barracuda between Jan. 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, threat actors used Google file sharing and storage websites in 65% of their attacks. According to Barracuda, that number includes storage.googleapis.com (25%), docs.google.com (23%), storage.cloud.google.com (13%), and drive.google.com (4%). 

In comparison, Microsoft brands were used in 13% of attacks. Other brands used include sendgrid.net (10%), mailchimp.com (4%), and formcrafts.com (2%).

According to Barracuda, the three most common tactics used in these form-based and brand-impersonation attacks include:

  • Using legitimate sites as intermediaries: By impersonating emails from sites like OneDrive, attackers can lead unsuspecting victims to phishing sites via a legitimate file-sharing site. “The attacker sends an email with a link that leads to a file stored on a site like sway.office.com, for example. The file contains a picture with a link to a phishing site asking for credentials to login,” says Barracuda. 
  • Crafting online forms geared towards phishing: Attackers create and send an online form that resembles a login page of a legitimate service but is ultimately designed to harvest a user’s credentials.
  • Gaining access to accounts without passwords: In this attack, a hacker sends a phishing email containing a link to what appears to be a legitimate login page. This link also contains a request for an app access token. After a user enters their credentials, they are presented a list of app permissions to accept. By accepting these permissions, users give up their password information while also granting the attacker’s app an access token that allows them to use a user’s login credentials. 

Fortunately, there are ways users can protect themselves from these brand-impersonation attacks. By using an API-based inbox defense tool, users can prevent phishing emails from entering their inboxes. 

Tools such as multi-factor authentication can also protect user accounts from attackers. And as always, keeping up to date on the latest phishing attacks is a worthwhile defense too.

Featured Resources

Digital document processes in 2020: A spotlight on Western Europe

The shift from best practice to business necessity

Download now

Four security considerations for cloud migration

The good, the bad, and the ugly of cloud computing

Download now

VR leads the way in manufacturing

How VR is digitally transforming our world

Download now

Deeper than digital

Top-performing modern enterprises show why more perfect software is fundamental to success

Download now

Recommended

What is hacktivism?
hacking

What is hacktivism?

13 Oct 2020
Microsoft: Iranian hackers are exploiting ZeroLogon flaw
Security

Microsoft: Iranian hackers are exploiting ZeroLogon flaw

6 Oct 2020
The Ritz suffers data breach after hackers pose as staff
data breaches

The Ritz suffers data breach after hackers pose as staff

17 Aug 2020
Russia hacked Liam Fox's personal email to steal trade documents
phishing

Russia hacked Liam Fox's personal email to steal trade documents

4 Aug 2020

Most Popular

The top 12 password-cracking techniques used by hackers
Security

The top 12 password-cracking techniques used by hackers

5 Oct 2020
IT services giant Sopra Steria falls victim to Ryuk ransomware
Security

IT services giant Sopra Steria falls victim to Ryuk ransomware

23 Oct 2020
How to wipe a laptop easily and securely
Security

How to wipe a laptop easily and securely

5 Oct 2020