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 05 11 22 Scaling Out Redis
As we’ve scaled our customer base, the size of our datasets has also grown. With our rapid expansion, we were on track to hit the data storage limit of our Redis server in two months, so we needed to figure out a way to scale beyond this—and fast!
Read More
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