The Comodo Threat Research Labs (CTRL) team has identified a phishing attack targeted at potential WhatsApp customers – specifically those who speak and read Italian.
The new phishing campaign in Italian is yet another attempt to leverage a well-respected brand to benefit the cybercriminal – warning potential victims that their account has expired, and that they need to enter new credit card information to reactivate it.
Fake emails are being sent disguised as official WhatsApp company emails from the domain firstname.lastname@example.org.
Appearing to be legitimately from WhatsApp, the email asks the recipient to click on the link “Rinnova il tuo WhatsApp Messenger,” as seen in screen grab 1 below.
In reality, the URL is in no way associated with the company, and when users enter their credit card information as seen in screen grab 2 below, the hackers win yet another round.
While close analysis of the emails reveals some irregularities in grammar and syntax, most recipients don’t assume all incoming emails are phishing attempts and thus, may not be reading them as closely as they could be. Also, cybercriminals are getting better at mimicking the colors, logos and feel of official websites. In this case, the Comodo team identified this specific malware phishing email using IP, domain and URL analysis.
“Through our specific IP and URL analysis – as well as the Comodo Threat Research Labs’ continuous monitoring and scanning of data from Comodo’s users— our team was able to identify this specific, high-volume malware attack, and we simply want to alert the public to it,” said Fatih Orhan, director of Technology for Comodo and the Comodo Threat Research Labs. “As a company, we work diligently to create innovative technology solutions that stay a step ahead of cybercriminals and keep enterprises and IT environments safe.”
A malware campaign like this can always come back in other forms and target a new group of users. Comodo is advising that potential victims of this phishing campaign, as well as other email phishing schemes, do the following:
- Check the email address and domain name of the company sending it. While it may appear to be an official email, closer inspection will most likely reveal that the actual email address is not affiliated with the domain name of the company
- Check the URL and domain of the website they’re trying to direct you to. Chances are, the URL and domain are also not affiliated with the company they’re purporting to represent
- Check with your IT department before opening or clicking on any link that seems suspicious in any way
For systems administrators and IT directors looking to prevent malware from spreading across their network and endpoints, it’s important to ask the following questions:
- Do you have a reliable endpoint security protection platform in place?
- Do you conduct regular penetration testing to look for vulnerabilities?
- Do you use antivirus, firewall and containment technologies as part of a layered defense system?
- Have you regularly trained your employees to raise awareness about phishing and other social engineering attacks?
If you feel your company’s IT environment is under attack from phishing, malware, spyware or cyberattacks, contact the security consultants at Comodo at: https://enterprise.comodo.com/contact-us/.
The Comodo Threat Research Labs is made up of more than 40 IT security professionals, ethical hackers, computer scientists and engineers, all full-time Comodo employees, analyzing and filtering spam, phishing and malware from across the globe. With offices in the U.S., Turkey, Ukraine, the Philippines and India, the CTRL team analyzes more than 10 million potential pieces of phishing, spam or other malicious/unwanted emails per day, using their insights and findings to secure and protect Comodo’s current individual, small and medium business and enterprise customer bases, the public at large and the Internet community.
SCREEN GRAB 1: Phishing email with links sent to unsuspecting victims
SCREEEN GRAB 2: Webpage that phishing victims are taken to, after clicking on the email