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Microsoft Warns Users About A Credential-Phishing Campaign… And At The Same Time Positions Itself As The Savior From These Attacks


Microsoft has warned that it has been tracking a widespread credential-phishing campaign that relies on open redirector links, while simultaneously suggesting it can defend against such attacks.

Here’s the warning:

Microsoft has been actively tracking a widespread credential phishing campaign using open redirector links. Attackers combine these links with social engineering baits that impersonate well-known productivity tools and services to lure users into clicking. Doing so leads to a series of redirections—including a CAPTCHA verification page that adds a sense of legitimacy and attempts to evade some automated analysis systems—before taking the user to a fake sign-in page. This ultimately leads to credential compromise, which opens the user and their organization to other attacks.

The use of open redirects in email communications is common among organizations for various reasons. For example, sales and marketing campaigns use this feature to lead customers to a desired landing web page and track click rates and other metrics. However, attackers could abuse open redirects to link to a URL in a trusted domain and embed the eventual final malicious URL as a parameter. Such abuse may prevent users and security solutions from quickly recognizing possible malicious intent.

For instance, users trained to hover on links and inspect for malicious artifacts in emails may still see a domain they trust and thus click it. Likewise, traditional email gateway solutions may inadvertently allow emails from this campaign to pass through because their settings have been trained to recognize the primary URL without necessarily checking the malicious parameters hiding in plain sight.

Well, this is a very dangerous attack. But fortunately, Microsoft can protect you from this:

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 detects these emails and prevents them from being delivered to user inboxes using multiple layers of dynamic protection technologies, including a built-in sandbox that examines and detonates all the open redirector links in the messages, even in cases where the landing page requires CAPTCHA verification. This ensures that even the embedded malicious URLs are detected and blocked. Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is backed by Microsoft experts who enrich the threat intelligence that feeds into our solutions through expert monitoring of email campaigns.

And if you read the rest of this document, it is literally an ad for both Office 365 and Microsoft Defender for Office 365. I literally cannot find any other mitigation strategies that do not involve one of these two products. Am I the only person who thinks that this is a big “sus” to use an Among Us reference? While it is true that 91 per cent of all cyberattacks originate with email, Microsoft positioning itself as your savior makes this message seem to be little more than an ad. Which makes this a #Fail for Microsoft.

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