Use Case: BEC - Executive Impersonation
Watch the video to see how Abnormal detects impersonated employees and blocks attacks from those users.
Let's take a look at an example that we, and likely you, see quite frequently: an impersonation of an executive using a free email address. As you can see here, it's an email being sent by Jonathan Green, the CFO of our fictitious organization, to another internal employee, Josh Waters. The goal here is to get two checks sent out and create some sort of engagement between the threat actor and the recipient.
We can see here that while this email is coming from Jonathan Green, a real user within our organization, it is coming from this gmail.com address. And since it is coming from gmail.com, it is going to pass all the traditional sender authentication methods like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. We can also see that this email does not have any links or attachments, making it very difficult to detect for traditional email security providers like secure email gateways.
So how is Abnormal able to uniquely detect this type of attack? Well, through our API integration with Azure Active Directory, we're able to see organizational roles. In this case, Jonathan Green is the Chief Financial Officer, and we see Josh Waters here is the Senior Director of Accounting. Looking at the indicators of how we detected this, we're looking at the identity and we see that of the over 8,000 real emails we've seen from Jonathan Green, none have been sent from this gmail.com address.
Looking further at the behavioral analysis, we see this atypical communication. Josh and Jonathan have never previously corresponded over email. And lastly, looking at the content, we see this urgent financial request. You could see that below, which I have highlighted, we see a request with time sensitivity and it's of a financial nature.
Based on all of these indicators, we are able to accurately detect this attack as being a VIP impersonation. We would automatically remediate this and send this email to the recoverable items folder so it's never accessible to the end user.
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