What you need to know about Delayed Phishing/ Post-Delivery Weaponized URL

Truth is, most of us have ever been a victim of phishing before and with the abundant resources online and trainings that we have so far had, we have become sort of immune to phishing.

Click here to as well look at our blog post about phishing and what you need to know

Our immunity against phishing has so far been boosted by e-mail service providers, mail gateways and even browsers that we use which has all embedded in their systems anti-phishing filters and malicious address scanners.

With all these above, cybercriminals are constantly inventing new, and refining old, circumvention methods. One such method is delayed phishing.

Delayed phishing is an attempt to lure a victim to a malicious or fake site using a technique known as Post-Delivery Weaponized URL.

“As the name suggests, the technique essentially replaces online content with a malicious version after the delivery of an e-mail linking to it. In other words, the potential victim receives an e-mail with a link that points either nowhere or to a legitimate resource that may already be compromised but that at that point has no malicious content. As a result, the message sails through any filters. The protection algorithms find the URL in the text, scan the linked site, see nothing dangerous there, and allow the message through.”

Effecting the malicious link

Attackers operate on the assumption that their victim is a normal worker who sleeps at night. Therefore, delayed phishing messages are sent after midnight (in the victim’s time zone), and become malicious a few hours later, closer to dawn.

If cybercriminals find a specific person to attack, they can study their victim’s daily routine and activate the malicious link depending on when that person checks mail.

Technology behind Delayed Phishing

For delayed phishing to be effective, hackers use at least one of these 2 common methods:

  1. Simple link: In this case, the hackers are the ones who are controlling the target site in that at the time of delivery, the site is safe so it can go through the several security levels it is scanned before it is delivered to your mailbox. At the time of delivery, the link leads to either a meaningless stub or (more commonly) a page with an error 404 message and the malicious version of the site is activated after delivery.
  2. Short-link switcheroo: Several sites offer link shortening services to the world, with this you can get alternative links that are easy to remember and short instead of long and boring links. However, some of this services allow you to alternate the link behind these short links. So the cybercriminals take advantage of this in that, by the time they are sending the email, the short link it pointing to a legitimate site and is swapped to the malicious site after delivery.

Although there is a third technology that is not so common which includes a randomized and short link where there is a probabilistic redirection. That is, the link has a 50% chance of leading to and a 50% chance of opening a phishing site. The possibility of landing on a legitimate site apparently can confuse crawlers (programs for automatic information collection).

Spotting & fighting Delayed Phishing

Ideally, there is need to prevent the phishing link from getting to the user, so rescanning the inbox would seem to be the best strategy.

In some cases, that is doable: for example, if your organization uses a Microsoft Exchange mail server. Kaspersky Security for Microsoft Exchange Server is also included in our Kaspersky Security for Mail Servers and Kaspersky Total Security for Business solutions.

Http and https security certificates vector illustration. Web browser protocols isolated icons

SSL – What You Need to Know

We often hear about a padlock, green URL bar and several other ways people use to describe SSL. But the question would be, What really is SSL and how useful is to HRDs websites?

What is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)?

SSL is a security protocol that assures users of the connection between their device and the website they are visiting. During a connection to a website so much information is shared between two computers (the visitor and there server for the website) including what may be highly confidential data such as credit card numbers, location data, user identification numbers or even passwords. Visitors have to make sure all the information passing is secure and not prompt to interception by third parties. This is why SSL has become a big deal in the cyber-powered world.

In cases where there is no SSL, the information shared between these two computers often show up as plain text. Which means, if there were to be an adversary, they would basically see all the communication and in this case, data could be stolen. SSL prevents this by encrypting this communication.

Why we need SSL?

When a visitor goes to your website and sees that you have an SSL it builds an enormours level of trust, this shows your visitors that whatever their activity on your website is secure. This trust is of more importance if it includes transactional relationship; where money is involved.

Even if not for transactional relationship, in the cyber-space of today “Data is the new Gold!” so That means everything we do online has to be secure.

To have this level of trust and security for your visitors requires the one key means – SSL. Since they assure users that the connection they have to that website is safe. For the end user, all they need to verify this is a simple icon shown on their browser (The padlock).

The padlock, or green padlock icon has become an assurance indicator to users that the website they are visiting takes their security seriously.

In case you haven’t realized the importance of having your website secured with SSL because you do not handle sensitive financial-related data, it is time to shift away from that. As mentioned earlier, hackers in these digital age would go after any data transmitted on the internet especially other personal identifying information.

Good enough, websites without SSL have been labelled “Insecure” some browsers show a red URL bar in order to protect and allow visitors to clearly identify these websites. Also, websites without SSL do not rank high on search engines as of today.

We shall be writing on how SSL works and Types of SSL to choose out from in the near future.