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Showing posts with label MFA Fatigue Attacks. Show all posts

Microsoft Issues Alert Over Rise in Advanced Phishing Scams

Microsoft has issued a warning regarding a surge in sophisticated phishing scams targeting individuals and organizations. These scams employ advanced tactics to deceive users and steal sensitive information. With an increasing number of people falling victim to such attacks, it is crucial to stay vigilant and implement necessary precautions.

Phishing scams involve cybercriminals impersonating trusted entities to trick individuals into revealing personal information, such as passwords, credit card details, or social security numbers. The scams typically rely on social engineering techniques and fraudulent emails or messages designed to appear legitimate.

According to Microsoft, the new wave of phishing scams has become more sophisticated and harder to detect. Attackers are utilizing residential internet protocol (IP) addresses instead of traditional data center IPs to evade detection by security systems. By operating through residential IPs, scammers can bypass security filters that typically flag suspicious activity from data center IPs.

These phishing campaigns often target high-value individuals, such as company executives or employees with access to sensitive data. Scammers employ persuasive language, urgency, and personalized information to deceive their targets and convince them to take action, such as clicking on malicious links or providing confidential information.

To protect against these sophisticated phishing attacks, Microsoft advises individuals and organizations to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA). By enabling MFA, users must provide additional verification, such as a unique code sent to their mobile device, in addition to their password. This adds an extra layer of security and makes it significantly harder for attackers to gain unauthorized access.

Furthermore, individuals should remain cautious when interacting with emails or messages, especially those that request sensitive information or seem suspicious. It is essential to scrutinize sender addresses, look for signs of grammatical errors or inconsistencies, and avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.

Organizations must prioritize cybersecurity awareness training for employees to educate them about the latest phishing techniques and the potential risks they pose. Regular training sessions and simulated phishing exercises can help individuals develop a strong sense of skepticism and recognize the warning signs of a phishing attempt.

Users Duped into Enabling Device Access Due to Overload of Push Notifications


Malicious hackers are initiating a new wave of 'MFA fatigue attacks,' in which they bombard victims with 2FA push alerts in an attempt to mislead them into authenticating their login attempts. 

According to GoSecure experts, who have warned that attacks that take advantage of human behaviour to get access to devices are on the upswing. Adversaries employ multi-factor authentication (MFA) fatigue to bombard a user's authentication app with push notifications in the hopes that they will accept and so allow an attacker to obtain access to an account or device. GoSecure described the assault as "simple" in a blog post earlier this week, noting that "it only requires the attacker to manually, or even automatically, send repeated push notifications while trying to log into the victim’s account”. 

Further, it added, “Once the attacker obtains valid credentials, they will perform the push notification spamming repeatedly until the user approves the login attempt and lets the attacker gain access to the account. This usually happens because the user is distracted or overwhelmed by the notifications and, in some cases, it can be misinterpreted as a bug or confused with other legitimate authentication requests.” 

The attack is exceptionally effective, according to GoSecure, not because of the technology involved, but because it exploits the human component through social engineering. 

Researchers wrote, “Many MFA users are not familiar with this type of attack and would not understand they are approving a fraudulent notification. Others just want to make it disappear and are simply not aware of what they are doing since they approve similar notifications all the time. They can’t see through the ‘notification overload’ to spot the threat.” 

The approach has been seen in the wild in recent years, including during a 2021 campaign in which Russian operators were seen sending push alerts to Office 365 users. Threat actors were spotted performing repeated authentication attempts in short succession against accounts secured with MFA, according to Mandiant research. 

A blog post reads, “In these cases, the threat actor had a valid username and password combination. Many MFA providers allow users to accept a phone app push notification or to receive a phone call and press a key as a second factor. The threat actor took advantage of this and issued multiple MFA requests to the end user’s legitimate device until the user accepted the authentication, allowing the threat actor to eventually gain access to the account.” 

The researchers also explained how an Office 365 user might detect numerous push notification attempts and how to protect themselves from such assaults. For example, a user might set the MFA service's default limits to allow a specific number of push notification attempts in a certain amount of time. 

GoSecure explained, “In this scenario, a unique two-digit number is generated and must be confirmed on both sides. This is very hard for an attacker to compromise since the attacker is shown a number that must be guessed in the phone (which the attacker doesn’t have access to)." Finally, a “radical move, but a quick solution” could be to disable the push notifications entirely. 

GoSecure also warned, “As app-based authentication mechanisms are being adopted increasingly as a safer way to authenticate a user (versus SMS or phone call) it is expected that this tendency will grow in the future, even be encouraged by Microsoft itself.”