Remote workers bombarded with 65,000 Google-branded cyber attacks in first four months of 2020

Remote workers bombarded with 65,000 Google-branded cyber attacks in first four months of 2020

Remote workers have been targeted by up to 65,000 Google-brand impersonation attacks, according to the most recent ‘Threat Spotlight’ report from Barracuda Networks. This type of spear phishing scam uses branded sites to trick victims into sharing login credentials.

Of the nearly 100,000 form-based attacks Barracuda detected between January 1, 2020, and April 30, 2020, Google file sharing and storage websites were used in 65% of attacks. This includes storage.googleapis.com (25%), docs.google.com (23%), storage.cloud.google.com (13%), and drive.google.com (4%).

In comparison, Microsoft brands were targeted in 13% of attacks: onedrive.live.com (6%), sway.office.com (4%, and forms.office.com (3%). The other sites impersonated include sendgrid.net (10 per cent), mailchimp.com (4%), and formcrafts.com (2%). All other sites made up 6% of form-based attacks.

Barracuda researchers observed that Google-brand impersonation attacks have made up 4% of all spear phishing attacks in the first four months of 2020, and they expect to see this number climb, as cybercriminals have success harvesting credentials.

Steve Peake, UK Systems Engineer Manager, Barracuda Networks commented, “Brand-impersonation spear phishing attacks have always been a popular and successful method of harvesting a user’s login credentials, and with more people than ever working from home, it’s no surprise that cyber criminals are taking the opportunity to flood people’s inboxes with these scams. The sophistication of these attacks has accelerated in recent times: now, hackers can even create an online phishing form or page using the guise of legitimate services, such as forms.office.com, to trick unsuspecting users. 

“Fortunately, there are ways to protect oneself against these cyber, such as implementing multi-factor authentication steps on all log-in pages so that hackers will require more than just a password to gain access to your data. Other, more sophisticated methods of cyber protection include using email security software, such as API based inbox defence, which uses artificial intelligence to detect and block attacks.”