FRESNO, California – Cody Sarhan, Communications Specialist
Recent scam attacks have seen a surge in popularity, and even the most savvy and mindful of security-conscious companies are falling prey to it: Email Reply Chain Attacks. This method of cyber assault has gained notoriety for its cunning use of hijacked legitimate email conversations to spread malware or phishing links.
“Security experts have noted that AI-generated phishing emails actually have higher rates of being opened — [for example] tricking possible victims to click on them and thus generate attacks — than manually crafted phishing emails.” — Brian Finch, Pillsbury Law
Phishing emails are a dime a dozen, and most people can spot them with a trained eye. But thanks to the advent of AI, and an increase in knowledge surrounding the tricks of old, scammers have proven particularly crafty and resourceful when it comes to fooling somebody whom they may not have fooled in the past with typical run-of-the-mill phishing attacks.
Learn more: How BCT can protect your email inbox
What Are Email Reply Chain Attacks?
The attack begins with a bad actor compromising an email account, achieved through various means such as credential dumping, credential stuffing, password spraying, previous data breaches, or by some other means. Once inside, the attacker lurks, monitoring conversations and waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
The effectiveness of this technique lies in its exploitation of trust. Unlike traditional phishing attempts that might raise immediate red flags, these attacks are stealthy insertions of malicious content into ongoing, trusted conversations. The attacker, masquerading as a familiar participant, sends a seemingly relevant email complete with malicious attachments or links. To the recipient, this looks like a normal email, from a trusted client with an ongoing relationship, and feels natural, so they open the attachment without assuming anything is amiss.
Through Email Replay Chain attacks, scammers can gain access to valuable, private, and sensitive information if a small business is unsecured.
How Do Scammers Use This Technique
In a typical scenario, a hacker infiltrates the email of some random company. For example: Jason’s email from a landscaping firm has been compromised. Spotting a conversation between Jason and Sandra, who works at a retirement home that Jason recently serviced, the hacker sends her a malware-laden file through Jason’s account. Before Jason detects the breach and Sandra suspects foul play, her system is compromised, endangering resident data, and private information.
To avoid detection, attackers often manipulate email rules, diverting replies to alternate folders or even setting up keyword filters to delete any emails that might expose the breach. This can leave victims ignorant of such breaches for prolonged periods, especially if they don’t check and maintain their emails regularly.
Why Small Businesses Must Be Wary
The subtlety of these attacks makes them highly effective. They bypass the usual red flags of phishing emails, such as poor grammar or irrelevant content — the usual suspects for obvious phishing attacks. Instead, they present as legitimate contributions to ongoing discussions, making even the most cautious and well-trained employees vulnerable. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to these scams because they typically don’t invest in a cybersecurity budget, have a dedicated security team, and/or know how to train their staff against these threats.
To protect your enterprise, it’s crucial to implement robust security practices:
BCT Consulting: Your Shield Against Cyber Threats
At BCT Consulting, we specialize in safeguarding small businesses from sophisticated cyber threats like Email Reply Chain Attacks. Our Hosted Exchange and email protection services are tailored to intercept and neutralize advanced threats before they reach your inbox.
► Secure Email Hosting. Our Hosted Exchange service provides a fortified email environment, scanning and filtering every message for potential threats.
► Comprehensive Email Protection. We offer advanced threat protection, spam filtering, virus and phishing detection, coupled with user education to create a vigilant and informed workforce.
► Cutting-edge Technology. Our solutions leverage the latest in industry standards and state-of-the-art tools to help you stay ahead of cybercriminals.
By partnering with BCT Consulting, you can ensure that your business is equipped with the tools and knowledge to deflect these hidden threats. Secure your operations, educate your employees, and maintain vigilance to keep your business one step ahead of cybercriminals.
Contact one of our highly skilled technicians now to learn how you can protect your inbox from scammers.
BCT Consulting now has engineers servicing clients within Fresno, Clovis, Madera, San Jose, Sacramento, San Francisco & the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Las Vegas, Bakersfield, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Anaheim, Palm Springs, and more.
Cody Sarhan | Communications Specialist, Xobee Networks