Scam Alert: Phishing email shares ‘secure’ files supposedly hosted on Microsoft Sway

Posted by Akankasha Dewan on 17 April 2020 13:56:52 AEST

Don't be too quick to click everything you see in your inbox. A new email claiming to share new 'secure' documents has been identified as a phishing scam by MailGuard and has been successfully blocked.

Titled “[SECURE] Sway Documents”, the email uses a display name of “Jane Williams”, with the “To:” field stating it has been sent to undisclosed recipients. The email body begins with the word “Attention!!!” and informs recipients that Jane Williams “is sharing a secure documents” that are “urgent”. A link is provided for users to view the documents. The email ends with a signature supposedly from Jane Williams, complete with her designation, company name and address.

Here is a screenshot of the email:

Scam 1704_Social

Unsuspecting recipients who click on the link to view the documents are led to a page hosted on Microsoft Sway that is titled “You have a secure document pending review”, as per the below screenshots:

Sway 1

Sway 2

 

Here users are, once again, provided with a link to “view document”. Clicking that link takes them to a fake Office 365-branded login page that is hosted on the domain "comicbooktrailers.net", with its background blurred. A message appears at the front of the page, asking users to sign in “with the email address this was sent to”, as per the below screenshots:

EmailScam_MicrosoftSway_170420

Sway 3


Once users close the message, the Office 365 login page becomes visible and they’re instructed to sign in. This is a phishing page designed to harvest users’ confidential data.

Sway 4

Upon “signing in”, users are finally redirected to the authentic Office 365 sign-in page.

Sway 5

We strongly advise all recipients to delete these emails immediately without clicking on any links. Please share this alert with your social media network to help us spread the word around this email scam.

As you can see from the screenshots above, cybercriminals have employed multiple elements to trick recipients. Here are some of them:

  • The use of an email subject like ‘[SECURE] Sway Documents’. This not only attempts to trick recipients that the files being shared are secure, but the implication that these documents are shared via Microsoft Sway also helps its boost the email’s legitimacy. Microsoft Sway is a popular file-creating and sharing app that is commonly used in business correspondence. This makes them an attractive target, and since their service requires users to click a link to view, edit or download files, they are a convenient trojan horse for malicious attacks like this one and may not raise any alarm bells.

  • The page that the email leads to appears to use a Microsoft Sway URL and includes Sway’s branding and logo – again helping to boost the page’s legitimacy.

  • The actual phishing page uses Office 365’s branding and logo, as mentioned above. Again, this is done to convince users that the page can be trusted.


Despite these techniques, eagle-eyed recipients of this email would be able to spot several red flags that point to the email’s in-authenticity. These include the fact that the email doesn’t address the recipient directly, and that the domain in the phishing page doesn’t belong to Office 365. There are also several spelling and grammatical errors within the email, like “Jane Williams is sharing a secure documents”.

Cybercriminals also frequently exploit the branding of global companies like Microsoft in their scams, because their good reputation lulls victims into a false sense of security, and with such a large number of users they are an easy and attractive target.

Whilst MailGuard is stopping this email scam from reaching Australian businesses, we encourage all users to be extra vigilant against this kind of email and whatever happens, do not open or click them.

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.

As a precaution, MailGuard urges you not to click links within emails that:

  • Are not addressed to you by name.
  • Appear to be from a legitimate company but use poor English, or omit personal details that a legitimate sender would include.
  • Are from businesses that you were not expecting to hear from.
  • Take you to a landing page or website that is not the legitimate URL of the company the email is purporting to be sent from. 

Don't get scammed

If your company’s email accounts aren’t protected, emails like the one above are almost certainly being received by your staff. Cybercriminals know people can be tricked; that’s why they send out millions of scam messages and put so much effort into making them look convincing.

People are not machines; we're all capable of making bad judgement calls. Without email filtering protecting your business, it’s just a matter of time before someone in your organisation has a momentary lapse of judgement and clicks on the wrong thing.

One email is all that it takes

All that it takes to break into your business is a cleverly-worded email message. If scammers can trick one person in your company into clicking on a malicious link they can gain access to your data.

For a few dollars per staff member per month, you can protect your business with MailGuard's predictive and advanced email security.

Talk to a solution consultant at MailGuard today about securing your company's network.

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Topics: email scams fraud fastbreak

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