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Targeted Phishing Attacks and their Signals

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Barracuda Sentinel uses techniques such as natural language processing, account statistics, and domain assessment to detect signals to protect you from potential targeted attacks. For example, Barracuda Sentinel can analyze language patterns and detect language often used in attack emails. It can then quarantine suspicious emails, protecting you from potential attacks.

This article provides a general sense of the signals used by Barracuda Sentinel. Note that it would be irresponsible to disclose the inner workings of Barracuda Sentinel.

Barracuda Sentinel also detects signals to protect you from account takeover (ATO) attacks. See Account Takeover Attacks and their Signals for details.

Types of Phishing Attacks

Barracuda Sentinel protects against the targeted types of phishing attacks described here.

Scamming

In a scam, an unusual request is made of the recipient – like a request from a stranger, asking the target to send a large amount of money in return for a share in some other large sum of money.

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For more information, see Getting Started.

Blackmailing

Similar to standard blackmailing, online blackmailing involves demands for large payments to a stranger in exchange for their not revealing some embarrassing information about the target.

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For more information, see Getting Started.

Domain Impersonation

Here, the sender purposely misspells the From address, altering it slightly, so the change is barely perceptible. The target might respond to a nefarious request, thinking the request is coming someone they know and trust.

domainImperson.png

For more information, see Getting Started.

Service Phishing

The attacker impersonates a well-known service, like a bank or an Internet service provider, and asks the user to click a link and log into their account. The attacker can then steal the user's login credentials.

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For more information, see Getting Started.

Employee Impersonation

The attacker assumes the identity of an employee, assuming a position of trust with other employees. With this trust, the attacker can gain access to important corporate information or convince another employee to perform a task, like a bank transfer to a nefarious account.

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For more information, see Getting Started.

Signals

Here is a sampling of the signals Barracuda Sentinel uses to detect potential attacks:

  • The email:
    • uses language usually associated with frauds and scams.
    • makes an unusual or urgent request of the recipient.
    • requests payment through cryptocurrency.
    • makes unusual threats to the recipient.
    • contains a link to a URL not usually used by the sender.
  • The From address is not the sender’s typical address.
  • The Reply To or Sender domain appears to be impersonating another domain.
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