LinkedIn Impersonated in Identity Theft Scheme

January 27, 2021

In a recent attack uncovered by Abnormal Security, the attacker impersonates LinkedIn to send a malicious attachment that could lead to identity theft. Once the attachment is opened, the victim is asked to put in personal identifying information, including their social security number.

Summary of Attack Target

Abnormal Security first observed this attack targeting one of our customers.

  • Platform: Office 365
  • Victims: Executives and VIPs
  • Payload: Malicious Attachment
  • Technique: Name Impersonation

LinkedIn Impersonated in Original Attack

In this attack, the recipient receives an email from what appears to be LinkedIn, at least according to the display name. The email contains only an HTM attachment named “PolicyChange2845,” prompting the recipient to open the file. At first glance, the recipient may think that this is a policy change notification coming from LinkedIn. The email subject states “Changes that affect you,” increasing the urgency to open the attachment.

However, when taking a closer look, we can see that while the display name is LinkedIn, the actual sending email address is ‘policychange@fzx.com,’ which has no relation to LinkedIn. The attacker is using name impersonation in hopes of deceiving the recipient.

When opening the attachment, the recipient is asked to complete a form that looks similar to the LinkedIn login or sign-up page. This form contains boxes to input the recipient’s name, social security number, date of birth, and driver’s license number. Meanwhile, the legitimate LinkedIn site would only ask for an email and password to login.

If the recipient of this email falls victim to this attack and fills out the form they are prompted with, they will have released extremely sensitive information to the attacker. The attacker would not only have their name and date of birth, but also their social security number and driver’s license information—all of which can quickly lead to identity theft.

Why This Attack Bypassed Traditional Security

Because this attack does not contain a traditionally malicious attachment, it would likely bypass a secure email gateway that would look for malware hidden within the attachment. Instead, this attack uses urgency and credential phishing to encourage someone to open the attachment and complete the form.

By understanding identity and impersonation, Abnormal Security is able to detect the nature of the message and understands that it is likely dangerous—despite not containing malicious code. Further analysis of the text within the email also indicates that the body contains text and spaces with a size zero font, a common pattern that we've observed in email attacks.

Taken together, Abnormal has enough signals to mark this email as an attack, and prevent it from reaching end users.

Curious how Abnormal can stop name impersonation and prevent your end users from becoming victims of identity theft? Request a demo for a full overview.

Previous
Blog blue circles algorithm
At the core of all Abnormal’s detection products sits a sophisticated web of prediction models. For any of these models to function, we need deep and thoughtfully engineered features, careful modeling of sub-problems, and the ability to join data from a set of databases. For example, one type of email attack...
Read More
Next
Blog purple calendar
Abnormal Security recently detected two new types of attacks where scammers are targeting victims by redirecting their own Microsoft 365 out-of-office replies as well as read receipts back to them. These tactics indicate attackers are using every available tool and loophole...
Read More

Related Posts

B 10 15 21
With Detection 360, submission to threat containment just got 94% faster, making it incredibly easy for customers to submit false positives or missed attacks, and get real-time updates from Abnormal on investigation, conclusion, and remediation.
Read More
Extortion blog cover
Unfortunately, physically threatening extortion attempts sent via email continue to impact companies and public institutions when received—disrupting business, intimidating employees, and occasioning costly responses from public safety.
Read More
Blog engineering cybersecurity careers
Cybersecurity Careers Awareness Week is a great opportunity to explore key careers in information security, particularly as there are an estimated 3.1 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs. This disparity means that cybercriminals are taking advantage of the situation, sending more targeted attacks and seeing greater success each year.
Read More
Blog hiring cybersecurity leaders
As with every equation, there are always two sides and while it can be easy to blame users when they fall victim to scams and attacks, we also need to examine how we build and staff security teams.
Read More
Cover automated ato
With an increase in threat actor attention toward compromising accounts, Abnormal is focused on protecting our customers from this potentially high-profile threat. We are pleased to announce that our new Automated Account Takeover (ATO) Remediation functionality is available.
Read More
Email spoofing cover
Email spoofing is a common form of phishing attack designed to make the recipient believe that the message originates from a trusted source. A spoofed email is more than just a nuisance—it’s a malicious communication that poses a significant security threat.
Read More
Cover cybersecurity month kickoff
It’s time to turn the page on the calendar, and we are finally in October—the one month of the year when the spooky becomes reality. October is a unique juncture in the year as most companies are making the mad dash to year-end...
Read More
Ices announcement cover
Abnormal ICES offers all-in-one email security, delivering a precise approach to combat the full spectrum of email-borne threats. Powered by behavioral AI technology and deeply integrated with Microsoft 365...
Read More
Account takeover cover
Account takeovers are one of the biggest threats facing organizations of all sizes. They happen when cybercriminals gain legitimate login credentials and then use those credentials to send more attacks, acting like the person...
Read More
Blog podcast green cover
Many companies aspire to be customer-centric, but few find a way to operationalize customer-centricity into their team’s culture. As a 3x SaaS startup founder, most recently at Orum, and a veteran of Facebook and Palantir, Ayush Sood...
Read More
Blog attack atlassian cover
Credential phishing links are most commonly sent by email, and they typically lead to a website that is designed to look like common applications—most notably Microsoft Office 365, Google, Amazon, or other well-known...
Read More
Blog podcast purple cover
Working at hyper-growth startups usually means that unreasonable expectations will be thrust on individuals and teams. Demanding timelines, goals, and expectations can lead to high pressure, stress, accountability, and ultimately, extraordinary growth and achievements.
Read More