Floor purple 1 FINAL

SurveyMonkey Used in Office 365 Phishing Attempt

July 7, 2020

SurveyMonkey is a survey service that is normally used to host legitimate surveys. However, sometimes attackers will utilize file sharing and surveying sites like SurveyMonkey to host redirect links to a phishing webpage. By using these legitimate services, attackers can bypass email URL detection systems deployed by many email security tools.

In this attack, attackers send emails through SurveyMonkey in order to steal the Microsoft credentials of employees.

Summary of Attack Target

  • Platform: Office 365
  • Email Security Bypassed: Office 365
  • Payload: Malicious Link
  • Technique: Spear Phishing

Overview of the SurveyMonkey Phishing Attack

In this attack, the email is sent from a real SurveyMonkey domain (surveymonkeyuser.com), but with a different reply-to domain. That reply-to domain was registered only one month ago. The email simulates an automated notification with a link to open the statement, or survey.

Within the body of the email is a hidden redirect link appearing as the text “Navigate to access statement” with a brief message “Please do not forward this email as its survey link is unique to you”. Clicking on the link leads to a real SurveyMonkey page with a link to a supposed Billing Statement.

Clicking on the link within the SurveyMonkey page redirects to a site hosted on a Microsoft form submission page. This form asks the user to enter their Office 365 email and password.

From here, the user is asked to enter their information. If they are not vigilant and provide their credentials, the user account would be compromised.

Why the SurveyMonkey Phishing Attack is Effective

Since the URL isn’t visible within the body text, it is easy to miss at first glance. The first link actually redirects to a real SurveyMonkey link, and then finally to the landing page of the phishing site. As these emails originated from the legitimate SurveyMonkey email address, and the body of the email contains a link to the real SurveyMonkey domain, one would easily believe the email to be benign.

Furthermore, because the email mentions that each survey link is unique to each recipient of the email, users may be primed to think that the login page is there to validate that their responses are from the legitimate recipient of the email. Thus, the behavior isn't unexpected, even if it's atypical—recipients should never enter their email credentials into a survey, regardless of which service is providing it.

Abnormal is able to detect this attack due to the unusual sender information, unusual reply-to information, and the suspicious request. Because the email mentions a "statement" that takes people to a SurveyMonkey site, this is considered a suspicious financial request and when combined with other factors, indicates that the email is likely a phishing attempt.

To learn more about how Abnormal detects and stops credential phishing emails, request 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 10 3 22 Cobalt Terrapin Blog
Threat group Cobalt Terrapin uses sophisticated impersonation techniques with multiple steps to commit invoice fraud.
Read More
B 09 29 22 CISO Cybersecurity Awareness Month
October is here, which means Cybersecurity Awareness Month is officially in full swing! These five tips can help security leaders take full advantage of the month.
Read More
B Email Security Challenges Blog 09 26 22
Understanding common email security challenges caused by your legacy technology will help you determine the best solution to improve your security posture.
Read More
B 5 Crucial Tips
Retailers are a popular target for threat actors due to their wealth of customer data and availability of funds. Here are 5 cybersecurity tips to help retailers reduce their risk of attack.
Read More
B 3 Essential Elements
Legacy approaches to managing unwanted mail are neither practical nor scalable. Learn the 3 essential elements of modern, effective graymail management.
Read More
B Back to School
Discover how threat group Chiffon Herring leverages impersonation and spoofed email addresses to divert paychecks to mule accounts.
Read More
B 09 06 22 Rearchitecting a System Blog
We recently shared a look at how the Abnormal engineering team overhauled our Unwanted Mail service architecture to accommodate our rapid growth. Today, we’re diving into how the team migrated traffic to the new architecture—with zero downtime.
Read More
B Industry Leading CIS Os
Stay up to date on the latest cybersecurity trends, industry news, and best practices by following these 12 innovative and influential thought leaders on social media.
Read More
B Podcast Engineering 11 08 24 22
In episode 11 of Abnormal Engineering Stories, David Hagar, Director of Engineering and Abnormal Head of UK Engineering, continues his conversation with Zehan Wang, co-founder of Magic Pony.
Read More