Cyber security should always be a significant concern for c-suite investment. Still, with new dangers- such as Phishing-as-a-Service (PhaaS) gaining popularity, experts are now encouraging organizations to examine their defenses and ensure they are strong.
Phishing assaults increased by 29% in 2021, as reported by Zscaler, a cloud security business. The company believes that PhaaS was a contributing factor in this growth. In the past year, there has been a 400% rise in phishing attempts recorded in the wholesale and retail sectors, while the financial and government sectors have seen an increase of more than 90%.
PhaaS is rapidly becoming an essential component in the landscape of cybercrime. Companies need to be aware of what is Phishing-as-a-Service/what is PhaaS, how it works and how to protect themselves from being victims of PhaaS assaults.
What is Phishing And Its Types?
Phishing is a form of social engineering frequently utilized to obtain user data, including login passwords and credit card numbers. It occurs when an attacker poses as a reliable party to trick a victim into opening an email, instant chat, or text message the attacker has sent.
After this step, the receiver is deceived into clicking on a malicious link, resulting in malware infection, freezing the machine as part of a ransomware assault, or disclosing sensitive information.
Types of Phishing
Following are a few types of phishing that hackers use actively to attack their target;
- Email phishing: Attackers send malicious emails to trick people.
- Spear phishing: Attackers target a specific group or a person and trick them by using information that is of target’s interest.
- Whaling: Attackers utilize spear phishing methods to target high-profile targets, like the c-suite.
- Smishing and vishing: Smishing is a scam attack done via short SMS while Vishing is conducted via phone calls. The aim of both is to get you to reveal your personal information.
- Angler phishing: This is a new type of phishing attack targeted at social media users.
- HTTPS phishing: This scam has been around since 2005. The attackers run phishing scams using SSL certificates pretending to be trusted sites.
- Pharming: Attackers run malicious code on your systems (computers or server). This code redirects you to fraudulent websites.
- Pop-up phishing: Hackers run malicious pop-up ads to trick users to install malware or purchase anti-virus.
- Clone phishing: Attackers copy the message the target normally receives and add malicious links to it to trick them to downloading malware or reveal their credentials.
- Evil Twin: Attackers make the target connect their devices to fake Wi-Fi and get access to their sensitive/personal information without their knowledge.
- Watering Hole phishing: This type of phishing attack is targeted to access information of groups and people within a specific group or industry making them use a malicious site.
- Search Engine phishing: It happens through online website search engines.
What Is Phishing-as-a-Service (PhaaS)?
Phishing-as-a-Service, often known as PhaaS, is a kind of organized cybercrime in which criminals use the internet to sell phishing services to other people in exchange for financial compensation.
Phishing is a kind of email fraud in which criminals send communications to victims while posing as a genuine business to deceive recipients into providing sensitive personal information (such as passwords or banking information), for example.
PhaaS suppliers sometimes develop phony websites and landing pages that have a real-world appearance to make it more difficult for potential victims to notice the fraud.
Know more about what is Phishing-as-a-Service/what is PhaaS here.
How Does PhaaS Work?
The methodology that underpins PhaaS is not overly complicated. An attacker will contact the business responsible for providing this service and pay an attack operator to devise and carry out a phishing campaign against anybody they see fit.
Ineffective login pages, website hosting, and methods for storing and disseminating stolen credentials are some of the benefits of using this service.
BulletProofLink, a less-than-legal firm that was unearthed and brought to the public’s attention in 2020, is credited with being the first large, recognized company to supply PhaaS.
Since then, studies conducted by Microsoft into phishing as a service have indicated that the company’s service is responsible for a significant proportion of phishing assaults in the current digital environment.
Platforms Offering PhaaS Services:
Here are some of the most popular platforms that offer PhaaS services.
Managed Defense analysts found that hackers use a shared Phishing as a Service platform known as ‘Caffeine.’ This platform comes at a relatively low cost and has an intuitive interface providing a multitude of tools and features to hackers.
It helps them automate and orchestrate the fundamentals of their phishing campaigns. The features include self-service mechanisms to manage intermediary redirect and final-stage pages, craft customized phishing kits, track email campaign activity, and dynamically generate links for hosted malicious payloads.
Robin Banks is a PhaaS platform that sells ready-made phishing kits to criminals trying to access the financial information of people residing in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada.
Robin Bank is not more widely used or sophisticated than other phishing-as-a-service platforms. However, it does stand out due to its 24/7 assistance to customers and its unique dedication to fixing bugs, pushing updates, and adding features to its kits.
Recently, IronNet researchers detected a large-scale campaign using this platform to target victims using email and SMS. This campaign aimed to access financial and credential information regarding Citibank.
Recently, Resecurity researchers have discovered a new PaaS platform known as EvilProxy. This platform is designed to target accounts of different websites and applications, including Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft, GitHub, GoDaddy, Instagram, Twitter, Yahoo, Dropbox, and Yandex.
EvilProxy actors use Cookie injection and Reverse Proxy methods to bypass two-factor authentication, proxifying the victim’s session. Moreover, the researchers say that the platform is easy to use, lowering the bar for inexperienced hackers to carry out sophisticated attacks
How To be Protected From PhaaS Attacks?
Even though social engineering is the foundation of phishing, emerging methods might be complicated for consumers to see. Phishing risks may be reduced by taking numerous measures to stop hostile actors from breaking into systems, networks, and software.
Below are some steps letting you know how to be protected from PhaaS attacks effectively.
Create Filters for your Inbox
Email filters, often known for eliminating “spam,” may also check for other hazards that can indicate a phishing effort. Active content, or the coding that allows things like reading and editability, is a common place for cybercriminals to conceal dangerous code.
The quantity of harmful phishing emails that make it through to users can be decreased by employing an effective email filtering technology.
The Staff Needs Training
Information security begins with a well-trained staff. You should give training that goes beyond the typical manner of sending phishing emails, as the methods of hostile actors are constantly changing. There has to be an emphasis on modern techniques like watering hole phishing assaults in any phishing awareness training.
Internet Access Should be Restricted
The use of access control lists (ACLs) is yet another method for lowering vulnerability to malicious web pages. You may “deny all” users access to specific websites and web apps by configuring your network’s access restrictions.
Keep an Eye out for and Shut Down any Suspicious Bogus Sites
Industries that are frequent targets of cybercriminals, such as the banking sector and the healthcare industry, employ the services of firms that can actively search for and remove counterfeit versions of their websites. If your staff or customers accidentally click on a bad link, this will prevent them from handing away their credentials to hackers.
Patch your System Regularly
As a result of these known security flaws, phishing attempts are frequent. Installing security upgrades regularly to counteract these flaws is essential for prevention
Backup your Files Regularly
Malware, including ransomware, is frequently left behind during phishing campaigns. Developing a solid data backup procedure that uses the 3-2-1 approach (three copies of data on two separate media, with one stored offshore) will help reduce the impact of ransomware on your company’s productivity.
Unfortunately, the lack of understanding of what is Phishing-as-a-Service/What is PhaaS and how it works has presented businesses with yet another challenge. It’s only going to grow worse for companies as cybercriminals find more and more creative ways to acquire the phishing tools they require. However, such phishing attempts will fail if the target uses common sense and is equipped with the knowledge necessary to defend themselves.