Barracuda Warns Of Phishing Scams Using Word, Excel Documents

Barracuda has flagged several cybersecurity threats through its new advisory platform Barracuda Security Insight.

It has, for example, seen an uptick in PDFs containing malware. And it has posted what it calls a critical alert about cyber felons attempting to steal user passwords with attached Word or Excel documents that appear to be tax forms or other official documents.

In one attempt that apparently targets Canadians, attackers urge the recipient to open an attached Word document titled “taxletter.doc.” 

“We are apprising you upon the arisen tax arrears in the number of 2300CAD. We likewise remind you that according to the tax key of Canada, any of your revenue outward of Canada is ratable. In order to get away, miss litigation and punishment accrual the duty must be return before February 13, 2018. You can look for more details in the document.”

These emails will typically have a subject line that says "taxletter.doc."



Another urgent-sounding email reads: "Dear Sir, Please fine the attach PO and arrange the material at earliest. Offer Validity: 7 days."

In another instance, the attachment is an innocent-looking Excel file.

Recipients are familiar with these file types and will often open them without suspecting anything is wrong, Barracuda states. But they could end up with their passwords being stolen and placed onto the “booming black market” for stolen passwords. 

Thanks to the widespread use of software that stores passwords — i.e., via browsers — many passwords are vulnerable to theft. Password management solutions compound the problem, since passwords are sitting on users’ computers waiting to be stolen, Barracuda claims.

These passwords can be monetized, based on what services they open. For example, banking passwords can enable criminals to transfer funds. Email and social-networking passwords can be used for spamming and phishing attempts. Moreover, email addresses can be placed on lists and sold to spammers. 

The company adds that spammers have devised methods to evade security measures, especially "the more naive approaches, such as simply blocking certain file types. "

The solution for companies is to train employees and to "layer" that training with a sandboxing and advanced threat solution, Barracuda claims.



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