Security experts at Akamai have discovered a campaign that uses an elaborate phishing kit. This campaign targets Americans using lures centered around holidays like Labor Day and Halloween.

The kit combines several methods and employs several evasion detection techniques to prevent non-victims from visiting its phishing pages.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the kit is a token-based method that ensures each victim is forwarded to a different URL for a phishing page.

Campaign summary

The scheme preyed on internet customers searching for "Christmas deals" from September 2022 through October 2022.

The potential to win a gift from a respected company is the main focus of the phishing emails addressed to prospective victims.

The links in the email are not suspicious since they connect to the phishing site via a series of redirects, while URL shorteners disguise the majority of URLs. Additionally, the attackers utilize reputable cloud providers like Google, AWS, and Azure, taking advantage of their good reputation to get beyond security measures.

After completing a brief survey, everyone visiting the phishing website is awarded the prize. A five-minute countdown ensures that individuals completing the poll feel a sense of urgency.

To make the scheme harder to detect, the surveys imitate many well-known companies, like Sam's Club, Costco, and Delta Airlines. The phishing actors also include false user testimonials showing off the rewards they've won to boost the campaign's efficacy.

The victims are prompted to provide their payment information after "winning" the item in order to settle the shipping expenses for the prize. But, of course, there is no reward to be delivered, and the threat actors steal the credit card information instead.

According to Akamai, about 89% of visitors to phishing sites originate from the United States and Canada.

Distinct URLs

Each phishing email includes a link to a landing page with an anchor (#), which sends a visitor to a specific section of the linked-to website.

In this phishing effort, the anchor tag contains a token JavaScript utilizes on the phishing landing page to rebuild the target's destination URL. These tokens can be used for various purposes, including screening out non-victims, victim-specific tracking, campaign performance evaluation, and more.

According to Akamai, the values after the HTML anchor will not be regarded as HTTP parameters and won't be delivered to the server. However, the victim's browser's JavaScript code will still be able to access this value.

The value inserted after the HTML anchor in the context of a phishing scam may be disregarded or missed when checked by security tools that determine whether it is malicious or not. Also, a traffic inspection tool will similarly overlook this number.

The kit incorporates nearly all successful and detection-avoiding strategies, making it a serious danger to North Americans.
Consumers should be extremely cautious when they get communications touting promotions and special deals since Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season are quickly coming.

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