Scammers are abusing the Google Docs comment feature to inject malware via phishing attacks.
Phishing Attacks Exploiting The Comment Feature in Google Docs
Security firm Avanan spotted in December a surge of phishing attacks abusing the comment feature, targeting primarily Outlook users. Hackers send ill-intended content by utilizing productivity features.
“In this attack, hackers are adding a comment to a Google Doc. The comment mentions the target with an @. By doing so, an email is automatically sent to that person’s inbox. In that email, which comes from Google, the full comment, including the bad links and text, is included. Further, the email address isn’t shown, just the attackers’ name, making this ripe for impersonators,” Avanan’s report said.
Check the phishing email examples below:
In a statement to 9to5google, Google wrote that they are “rolling out additional measures” to prevent this type of scam from being posted in comments on Docs, Slides, and other Google Workspace files. These new security controls are just part of Google’s active efforts to detect and shut down new phishing operations.
Hacking Humans Instead Of Systems
“Weaponizing documents for phishing is a tried and true approach to establishing a foothold into an enterprise, and reinforces one of the fundamental truisms of the field: You can hack the systems or you can hack the humans. As it relates to hacking humans, this is always something of an arms race — adversaries are always pursuing novel ways of tricking humans via some trusted vehicle of delivery, while network defenders manage the fallout,” Tim Wade, Technical Director, CTO Team at Vectra, a San Jose, Calif.-based AI cybersecurity company.
“At the end of the day, compromised users and systems will occur given time, motivation, and resources on behalf of an adversary — detecting and responding to that inevitability before material damage can be done is the hallmark of an effective security program.”
Avanan also provided a few recommendations to help you protect your business against these phishing attacks:
- Before clicking on Google Docs comments, encourage end-users to cross-reference the email address in the comment to ensure it’s legitimate
- Remind end-users to utilize standard cyber hygiene, including scrutinizing links and inspecting grammar
- If unsure, reach out to the legitimate sender and confirm they meant to send that document
- Deploy protection that secures the entire suite, including file-sharing and collaboration apps
Educate Your Employees With ATTACK Simulator’s Phishing Simulations
Thinking you’ll dodge the bullet (or hook)? Think again. Figures paint a rather grim cybercrime landscape.
Phishing attacks can be catastrophic, resulting in immense financial damage or even the end of your business.
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ATTACK Simulator’s Security Awareness Training program will help you equip your employees with the necessary security knowledge and up-to-date security practices to keep your company safe from scammers and avoid potentially irremediable damage.
Security Magazine Attackers exploit Google Docs with malware, phishing