A New Zero Day Vulnerability: Avoid a Malicious Email Attack

malicious email attackIn the world of modern business where nearly everyone uses a computer or electronic device of some soft to make sales, contact clients, work with vendors, and receive queries, you need to know that the apps, programs, operating systems, and hardware you use are safe. While nothing is 100 percent safe, as long as there are hackers and cyber criminals out there constantly working on new ways to get in, steal data, or gain access to unauthorized areas, there are things you can do to prevent a cybersecurity attack. It seems as if every day brings a brand new vulnerability or warning that could lead to a malicious email attack, whether due to human error of clicking on links or simply by logging in and using an app that has not been updated or is no longer receiving support.

The Roundcube Webmail Exploit

The latest zero-day vulnerability to hit the news is the cyberattack from Winter Vivern, which exploits an issue within Roundcube Webmail, a popular web-based email client. This particular attack targets government entities and one think tank inside of Europe; however, there is no reason to think that it would not be used against other businesses, industries, and even individuals who utilize this email service. Exposed earlier this month, this new attack works by utilizing a zero-day vulnerability within Roundcube Webmail, allowing hackers to list folders and emails within the Roundcube accounts, providing them access to full emails that can be moved to a different server. The good news? This cyberattack is no longer active. The bad news? Now that they know what to look for, other popular email clients may not be safe.

As businesses grapple with evolving cyber threats, like the Roundcube Webmail exploit, implementing an adaptive authentication process becomes crucial. This advanced security measure is particularly effective against the types of sophisticated attacks that exploit seemingly minor vulnerabilities. Adaptive authentication dynamically adjusts authentication requirements in real-time, based on the context of each login attempt. By evaluating factors such as user behavior, location, and device security, it can detect anomalies that might indicate a breach attempt. For instance, if a user suddenly tries to access the system from an unfamiliar location or device, the system can prompt for additional authentication. This approach could serve as a critical line of defense, ensuring that even if a hacker exploits a software vulnerability, gaining access to sensitive systems and data remains significantly more challenging.

How a Malicious Email Attack Works

Like most malicious email attack methods, this zero-day vulnerability attack on Roundcube Webmail account holders begins with a special email message. In this case, they used the subject line of “Get started in your Outlook,” and made it appear as though it was coming from an email address at team. management -at- outlook -dot- com. A friendly greeting, offering the ability to help the recipient to use popular Microsoft tools to write better emails for free was provided, a link included to Microsoft’s website, and a signature from “The Microsoft Accounts Team” wrapped it all up, making it appear very legitimate. A note at the bottom stated that this email cannot receive replies, which is common for many business emails, but also a red flag for those who study these types of cybersecurity attack methods.

The kicker is an SVG tag, which contains the malicious payload – a base64-encoded array of HTML source code, which is designed to trigger an onerror attribute by using an invalid URL. When the payload was decoded, it was found to contain a line of JavaScript code designed to execute within the target’s browser within the context of the Roundcube Webmail session. Researchers found that this exploit worked on fully patched instances of the app, as it was using a vulnerability located in the server-side script, which did not effectively identify and sanitize the SVG document before it was added to the HTML page to be seen by a user. Even for the most careful of users, the exploit still works, as it does not require any action on the user’s part, just viewing the message in their web browser, to be triggered.

Extend Your IT Department – Protect Your Business

One of the many benefits associated with hiring managed services to augment your existing IT department or to deliver these services to small or mid-size businesses without IT staff is knowing that your company network is being monitored and managed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We don’t have sick days, vacation weeks, holidays, or weekends – our team is there round the clock to serve you and stay alert to potential issues and concerns that may put your essential data and operations at risk. We offer innovative technology solutions designed to provide you with all of the advanced services you need, but at a price that you can afford.

At Synivate, we take time to learn about you and your business to understand your unique needs, whether that means identifying weaknesses for improvement or ensuring that your security meets any industry or government-based requirements. After our assessment, we work with you and your team to create solutions designed to prevent cybersecurity attack or malicious email attack situations, while also preparing you for any type of disaster or attack with a comprehensive back-up and recovery program. To learn more about our services or to speak with one of our team members about your needs, give us a call at 617-517-0704.

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