Barracuda recently teamed up with researchers from Columbia University to analyze the geography of phishing emails and how they’re being routed. Examining geolocation and network infrastructure across more than 2 billion emails, including 218,000 phishing emails, sent in the month of January 2020, we found that phishing emails are more likely to originate from certain countries in parts of Eastern Europe, Central America, the Middle East, and Africa, and more likely to be routed through a higher number of locations than emails that are benign.
Researchers also found that a surprisingly large number of attacks originate from large, legitimate cloud providers. This might be because attackers are able to compromise legitimate servers and/or email accounts hosted by these providers.
Here’s a closer look at the impact geography and network infrastructure has on phishing attacks and solutions to help detect, block, and recover from them.
Geolocation and network characteristics of phishing attacks: In phishing attacks, attackers use social engineering tactics to lure victims into providing personal information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, or banking information. Phishing detection largely focuses on the content of phishing emails and the behavior of attackers. As the phishing attacks become more complex, though, those trying to defend against these attacks must use increasingly sophisticated methods.
Our research team examined the network-level characteristics of phishing emails because network-level features are more persistent and harder for attackers to manipulate. We extracted IP addresses from the “received” fields of email headers, which record information about the servers traversed in transit. Studying this data provided insights into the path a phishing email takes between its sender and recipients.
Our analysis uncovered three key findings:
1. Phishing emails are more likely to have routes that traverse multiple countries.
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“Robot Friends” and VR for Loneliness during the Pandemic: Know what IEEE experts have to say
A result of the isolation that individuals have endured due to the COVID-19 pandemic includes feelings of loneliness and depression. To help those experiencing these types of feelings, technologists, researchers, and healthcare workers are tapping into the benefits of using “robot friends” and VR for loneliness.
THREAT SPOTLIGHT: THE GEOGRAPHY AND NETWORK CHARACTERISTICS OF PHISHING ATTACKS
The country where emails originate and the number of countries they are routed through on the way to their final destination offer important warning signs of phishing attacks.
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Teacher's Pet, Classroom Assistant Lady Bronwyn
Most of us have had that special cat—a heart cat with whom we had a deep connection. It may have been the cat we had as a child, or the one that saw us through a troubled time, or one with whom we bonded as we exhibited at cat shows. Whether the cat found us or we sought it out, those connections cannot be denied. These are the stories of some of those special cats and what they mean or meant to us.
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Crosby the Blind Cat
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