Phishing email scam launched via multiple compromised servers in Japan

Posted by Akankasha Dewan on 14 December 2018 11:22:01 AEDT

MailGuard intercepted a phishing email scam infiltrating inboxes on Wednesday morning (AEST). The scam is designed to steal your Office 365 login credentials.

Using a display name of "Message Center", the emails actually come from what appears to be several compromised mail servers in Japan. The body of the email appears in plain-text email, and it informs recipients that that some incoming messages were rejected. A link is included to "recover messages now".

Generic, O365 phishing email scam

Recipients who click on the link are led to a fake login page that incorporates the branding and logo of Office 365. Here it is in the screenshot below:

Generic, 03565 phishing page


Anyone who follows the link in this phishing email will be asked to enter their login credentials on the fake Microsoft website. Once the scammers have successfully collected the victim’s username and password they pass the victim on to the legitimate Office 365 website, to avoid arousing suspicion.

Cyber-criminals frequently exploit the branding of global companies like Microsoft in their scams, because their good reputation lulls victims into a false sense of security. Because of the large number of users globally, Office 365 is a regular victim of these scams. 

While the phishing page of this particular scam is well designed and looks like a legitimate one from Office 365, the email in itself contains several tell-tale signs that commonly belong to fraudulent emails. These include grammatical errors (such as ‘messages was rejected’), as well as the fact that the name of the addressee was not included within the body of the email.  

Phishing continues to be one of the most prevalent forms of cyber-crime. The vast majority of online scams - more than 90% - are perpetrated using email, so it’s wise to always be skeptical of messages from unfamiliar senders asking you to log into your accounts.

Phishing attacks can be enormously costly and destructive, and new scams are appearing every week. Don’t wait until it happens to your business; protect your business and your staff from financial and reputational damage, now.

Tell-tale signs of phishing scams

  • A sense of urgency
  • Bad grammar or misuse of punctuation and poor-quality or distorted graphics
  • An instruction to click a link to perform an action (hover over them to see where you’re really being directed)
  • Obscure sending addresses (for example, Hotmail, gmail, Yahoo addresses should set alarms bells ringing)

For a few dollars per staff member per month, add MailGuard's cloud-based email and web filtering solution to your business security. You’ll significantly reduce the risk of new variants of malicious email from entering your network. Talk to an expert at MailGuard today about your company's cybersecurity needs:

Keep up to date on the latest email scams by subscribing to MailGuard’s weekly update, or follow us on Twitter @MailGuard.

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Topics: Phishing email scam Cybersecurity cybercrime office365

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