AT&T Impersonated in Malware Download Attack

May 21, 2020

It’s common practice for companies to send notification emails with purchase receipts and tracking information, especially for purchases that are on the expensive side. However, for individuals who have not made recent purchases, this can be alarming, as these emails could signal fraudulent charges to the user’s credit card.

In this case, an attacker spoofed a notification email from AT&T. The goals was to encourage the target to investigate these charges, and by doing so, to inadvertently download malware.

Summary of Attack Target

  • Platform: Microsoft Office 365
  • Email Security Bypassed: FireEye
  • Victims: Employees
  • Payload: Malware
  • Technique: Spoofed Email + Impersonation

Overview of AT&T Impersonation Malware Attack

The email appears to be an automated notification regarding the order status of a recent purchase. The sender email looks like it comes from an authentic AT&T email address, and the images embedded in the body are the same as those used by the brand. However, checking the header IPs of the email, we are able to verify that the sender information is spoofed. We would expect the IP of an authentic email from AT&T to come from AT&T. This email, however, originated from an IP address in Ghana.

The email contains a link claiming to be the order details of the transaction. However, clicking on the link automatically downloads a .jar file that contains malware. The download is hosted at a site that is commonly used to store various malware downloads.

Should recipients fall victim to this attack, their device would be infected with malware. This would allow the attacker to steal sensitive personal information and potentially hijack the user’s device.

Why the AT&T Impersonation Malware Attack is Effective

The sender email was spoofed to impersonate a legitimate email address used by AT&T Wireless to send tracking notifications to customers. The email body itself perfectly matched legitimate emails sent by this AT&T email address—the formatting, the embedded images, and the content were identical. The only differences were the links attached to the email. The attacker anticipates that since the sender and the email appear authentic, recipients would be less suspicious of the downloaded malware file.

In addition, the malware URL is wrapped with text in the email body in order to conceal the link used by the attacker. The link directs to a download hosted at a page the attacker likely controls which is not affiliated with AT&T.

Abnormal can detect this attack as a result of a variety of factors. Most notably, DMARC email authentication fails for the sending address, and the sender has never before sent to anyone within the organization. Furthermore, content analysis shows that there is a suspicious link and that the message appears to come from an automated system, which is common method of email attack.

To discover more about how Abnormal can protect your organization from malware and other advanced attacks, see a demo today.


Prevent the Attacks That Matter Most

Get the Latest Email Security Insights

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on the latest attacks and new trends in the email threat landscape.

Demo 2x 1

See the Abnormal Solution to the Email Security Problem

Protect your organization from the attacks that matter most with Abnormal Integrated Cloud Email Security.

Related Posts

B 05 17 22 Impersonation Attack
See how threat actors used a single mailbox compromise and spoofed domains to subtly impersonate individuals and businesses to coerce victims to pay fraudulent vendor invoices.
Read More
B 05 14 22 Best Workplace
We are over the moon to announce Abnormal has been named one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces of 2022! Learn more about our commitment to our workforce.
Read More
B 05 13 22 Spring Product Release
This quarter, the team at Abnormal launched new features to improve lateral attack detection, role-based access control (RBAC), and explainable AI. Take a deep dive into all of the latest product enhancements.
Read More
B 05 11 22 Champion Finalist
Abnormal has been selected as a Security Customer Champion finalist in the Microsoft Security Excellence Awards! Here’s a look at why.
Read More
Blog series c cover
When we raised our Series B funding 18 months ago, I promised our customers greater value, more capabilities, and better customer support. We’ve delivered on each of those promises and as we receive an even larger investment, I’m excited about how we can continue to further deliver on each of them.
Read More
B 05 09 22 Partner Community
It’s an honor to be named one of CRN’s 2022 Women of the Channel. Here’s why I appreciate the award and what I love about being a Channel Account Manager at Abnormal.
Read More
B 05 05 22 Fast Facts
Watch this short video to learn current trends and key issues in cloud email security, including how to protect your organization against modern threats.
Read More
B 05 03 22
Like all threats in the cyber threat landscape, ransomware will continue to evolve over time. This post builds on our prior research and looks at the changes we observed in the ransomware threat landscape in the first quarter of 2022.
Read More
B 04 28 22 8 Key Differences
At Abnormal, we pride ourselves on our excellent machine learning engineering team. Here are some patterns we use to distinguish between effective and ineffective ML engineers.
Read More
B 04 26 22 Webinar Re Replacing Your SEG
Learn how Microsoft 365 and Abnormal work together to provide comprehensive defense-in-depth protection in part two of our webinar recap.
Read More
Blog mitigate threats cover
Learn about the most common socially-engineered attacks and why these tactics are still so successful—despite a growing awareness from employees.
Read More
B Podcast Engineering8
In episode 8 of Abnormal Engineering Stories, Kevin interviews Saminda Wijegunawardena, an engineering leader who is no stranger to fast-growing enterprise startups.
Read More