Morse Code is one of the oldest methods of communication. But, it is now used by hackers and other cybercriminals. Here’s what Microsoft discovered.
Morse Code is one of the oldest methods of communication. It involves a series of bleeping codes that an individual sends to the receiver. However, the receiver also needs to have knowledge when it comes to these unusual clicks so that they would understand what the message conveys.
However, Morse Code is now used in a very unsettling act since it is very efficient when it comes to phishing and other malicious activities that require breaching the system of a company, organization, or an individual’s account. This is what Microsoft discovered.
Microsoft has revealed the inner workings of a phishing attack group’s techniques that use a ‘jigsaw puzzle’ technique plus unusual features like Morse Code dashes and dots to hide its attacks.
The Morse Code hackers were discovered using invoices in Excel HTML or web documents to distribute forms that capture credentials for later hacking efforts. The technique is notable because it bypasses traditional email filter systems.
Microsoft Discovered a Unique Phishing Campaign
Microsoft added that the “attackers moved from using plaintext HTML code to employing multiple encoding techniques, including old and unusual encryption methods like Morse code, to hide these attack segments.”
The tech giant firm added that “in effect, the attachment is comparable to a jigsaw puzzle: on their own, the individual segments of the HMTL file may appear harmless at the code level and may thus slip past conventional security solutions.”
The search engine giant explained that Morse Code hackers could only pull off their malicious campaign if they properly combine these codes and decode them efficiently. The main aim of the attack is to acquire usernames and passwords, but it is also collecting profit data such as IP address and location to use for subsequent breach attempts.
Since the new hacking method is quite different from other malicious methods, which usually rely on advanced systems to bypass security features, cybersecurity experts are now concerned that the online attackers behind the new technique could use it in more serious breaches.
Microsoft said that the new hacking campaign or phishing method is unique in the lengths attackers take to encode the HTML file to bypass security controls. The company added that these hackers usually attack business emails, especially since the business sector is considered by online criminals as the most profitable target.
On the other hand, Microsoft reiterated that the XLS.HTML hacking campaign uses social engineering to craft emails mimicking regular financial-related business transactions, specifically sending what seems to be vendor payment advice. In some of the emails, attackers use accented characters in the subject line.