Phishing campaign alters prefixes of URLs in hyperlinks

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Security researchers have detected a new phishing tactic designed to bypass traditional email defenses by changing the prefixes of malicious URLs in hyperlinks. The URL beginning with “http://” gets replaced with “http:/\” while the rest of the URL remains the same. These malicious URLs don’t fit simple email scanning programs, allowing them to slip through undetected.

Email recipients generally don’t realize the issue as the malicious link remains hidden behind a call-to-action button such as “Click Here” Or “Play Audio”. The altered URL takes the recipients to a phishing website.

It has been a long time since phishing scammers are using URL alteration tactic. According to research a high-volume credential phishing campaign leveraging this technique has especially targeted Office 365 users, with notable high rates of incidents against companies in the following verticals: pharmaceutical, lending, general contracting and construction management, and telecom/broadband.

As preventive measures, experts recommend implementing well-integrated email and web security systems to check altered URLs. Using browser isolation with email, and implementing a more robust advanced email security solution with features such as machine vision and artificial intelligence that can help identify and block credential theft attempts.

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