“Your Office 365 account is about to be deleted”


At GCC, we pride ourselves on keeping our customers up to date on the latest threats to their cybersecurity. One way this works is to ensure there is always a clear channel of two-way communication. Phishing attacks are one of the biggest current dangers, and a great example of how collaboration can work in everyone’s interests was when an eagle-eyed GCC customer recently spotted a series of emails about a specific phishing attack, which GCC Support has now verified.

Phishing

Some of the most effective weapons in a hacker’s arsenal can also be the simplest, and so-called ‘phishing’ is a basic type of threat that is also one of the most dangerous. At its most obvious level, it is a malicious attempt to gain access to a target system by tricking an individual into willingly handing over information. Your business will no doubt receive many emails from third parties and amongst these will be many from trusted sources. When these are faked, it can catch the reader off guard and lead to the launching of malware by clicking on a link, or sensitive data is given away without realising it.

The email exchange reported by the GCC customer highlights this approach, as it claimed to come from an official Microsoft source and warned about an Office 365 account that was about to be deleted. The message also contained a couple of links, one of which encouraged the recipient to pay an invoice by logging in to the ‘Office 365 Admin center.’

Fake mail

When GCC support staff analysed the email in question, they found that spammers had set up a trial Office 365 to send fraudulent emails using the domain Office-365@admin.onmicrosoft.com. As the email originated from Office 365, this was a clever deception but was nevertheless spotted by a customer who had a good level of cybersecurity awareness. GCC support then raised the matter to Microsoft, reporting that the Office 365 services were being used in this way.

Data breach

The attack email directs to a website requesting the entering of credentials to avoid the deletion of an account. Logins and other information could then be stolen and used to gain access to systems, and from there, any number of different forms of malicious activity can follow. This type of data breach is hard to pin down and can often lead to a lengthy process of trying to find out what went wrong.

Security improvements

As well as education and training, which brings awareness that can ward off phishing attacks, there are other simple measures to minimise any potential disruption or damage. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) allows a series of different authentication processes to be put in place, meaning that the loss of a password need not be the end of the world.

Implementing this extra layer of security is relatively easy and usually entails setting up options that are already built into existing software. If you’d like to know more about MFA or how GCC’s proactive and responsive hardware and software support operates, get in touch today.


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