Clone Phishing

Clone PhishingClone phishing attacks are a new type of social engineering attack that can be more difficult to detect than typical phishing emails. Clone phishing attacks generally use a clone of a legitimate email to entice users to click a link or enter information. A standard clone phishing tactic would be an email that looks like it’s from PayPal on the same day of the month you typically receive your account balance notification. The email would look exactly like the one users receive every month and might even show a high or past-due balance to create urgency and make users more likely to click the link.

Another form of clone phishing can be a follow-up to an initial email. Clone phishing emails can appear to come from a company or colleagues inside your business if a business email compromise (BEC) has occurred. Hackers will resend the previous email and refer to updated links or resources in the new email. Since the attack is based on a previously received email, users are more likely to click on the new email to see what changed. Cloning the original email creates a more trusting environment where users are less likely to check links or email addresses. In the event of a business email compromise, the email could come from a real and trusted email address, increasing the likelihood that users will click the malicious link.

Like other phishing campaigns, the malicious links ask for personal information, login credentials, or credit card information which should be the first red flag for users. Criminals are also using clone phishing tactics to install malware which can be more challenging to detect.

Users should be aware of this new phishing tactic and be reminded to ‘think before you click’ especially during the holiday season. Like other phishing tactics, criminals try to create urgency with clone phishing to steal data. Click here to read our blog post on Holiday Phishing.

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Posted by Charles Wright