This likely AI-generated attack is an attempted credential phishing. The attacker pretends to be a part of the 'Notification Team' for an insurance company and claims to have detected "unusual sign-in activity" on the recipient's account, a commonly used alert from automated customer support desks. The message contains a link labeled "Review Recent Activity," which directs the recipient to a malicious website. The attacker is trying to steal login credentials to gain unauthorized access to the recipient's account, potentially to commit fraud or other illegal activity. 

Older security tools have trouble identifying this as an attack because of the unknown sender, the lack of explicitly malicious indicators, and the extensive use of social engineering in the email content. Advanced, modern security solutions powered by AI analyze multiple components of the message and metadata, including a complete behavioral profile of the sender, the contents of the message, and the sender's reputation to flag this as an attack correctly.

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How Does This Attack Bypass Email Defenses?

This email attack bypasses traditional security solutions for multiple reasons, including the following:

  • Unknown Sender: The email is from an unknown sender that the company has never received emails from in the past. Traditional security tools might not have this sender in their threat database, making it harder to identify the email as a potential threat.
  • Domain Age: The sender’s domain age could not be found. If the domain is newly registered, it might not yet be recognized as a threat by traditional security tools.
  • Social Engineering: The email uses social engineering techniques, such as creating a sense of urgency by mentioning unusual sign-in activity, to trick the recipient into clicking the link. Traditional security tools might not be able to detect such psychological manipulation.

How Did Abnormal Detect This Attack?

This attack was detected using AI and ML by analyzing various factors, including the following:

  • Behavioral Analysis: Abnormal's AI uses behavioral analysis to identify unusual patterns. In this case, the email is from an unknown sender that the company has never interacted with before.
  • Content Analysis: The AI analyzes the content of the email and identifies common phishing tactics. The email's subject and body text, which mention unusual sign-in activity and urge the recipient to review their account, are typical signs of a phishing attack. These types of messages are designed to create a sense of urgency and fear in the recipient, prompting them to click on a potentially malicious link without thinking. 
  • Sender Reputation Analysis: The sender's email is from a free email provider (icloud.com), which is often used by attackers to send phishing emails. Abnormal's AI analyzed the sender's reputation and identified it as a potential threat.



By recognizing established normal behavior and detecting these abnormal indicators, a modern email security solution has the ability to prevent this attack from reaching inboxes.

Please note the exact detection mechanism from Abnormal Security's system might include proprietary techniques and methodologies not disclosed here.

Analysis Overview

Vector

Link-based

Goal

Credential Theft

Tactic

Free Webmail Account

Theme

Security Update

Impersonated Party

Internal System

AI Generated

Likely

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