Depending on who you listen to, phishing (especially spear phishing), is either on the increase or the decrease. While the pundits continue to spin marketing hype, MSI will tell you that phishing and spearphishing are involved in 99% of all of the incidents that we work. Make no mistake, it is the attack of choice for getting malware into networks and environments.
That said, about a year ago or more, MSI introduced a free tool called MSI SimplePhish, which acts as a simplified “catch” for phishing campaigns. The application, which is available for Windows and can run on workstations or even old machines, makes it quite easy to stand up a site to do your own free phishing tests to help users stay aware of this threat.
To conduct such a campaign, follow these steps:
PreCursor: Obtain permission from your security management to perform these activities and to do phishing testing. Make sure your management team supports this testing BEFORE you engage in it.
1. Obtain the MSI SimplePhish application by clicking here.
2. Unzip the file on a the Windows system and review the README.TXT file for additional information.
3. Execute application and note the IP address of the machine you are using. The application will open a listening web server on port 8080/TCP. Remember to allow that port through any host-based firewalls or the like.
4. The application should now be ready to catch phishing attempts and log activity when the following URL structure is clicked on: http://<ip address of the windows system>:8080/ and when that URL is accessed, a generic login screen should be displayed.
5. Create an email message (or SMS, voice mail, etc.) that you intend to deliver to your victims. This message should attempt to get them to visit the site and enter their login information. An example:
This message is to inform you that an update to your W-2 tax form is required by human resources. Given the approaching tax deadline, entering this information will help us to determine if an error was made on your 2012 W-2. To access the application and complete the update process, please visit the online application by clicking here. (You would then link the clicking here text to your target URL obtained in step 4.)
6. Deliver the messages to your intended targets.
7. Watch and review the log file MSISimplePhishLog.txt (located in the same directory as the binary). Users who actually input a login and password will get written to the log as “caught”, including their IP address, the login name and **the first 3 characters** of the password they used. Users who visit the page, but do not login, will be recorded as a “bite”, including their IP address.
** Note that only the first 3 characters of the password are logged. This is enough to prove useful in discussions with users and to prove their use, but not enough to be useful in further attacks. The purpose of this tool is to test, assess and educate users, not to commit fraud or gather real phishing data. For this reason, and for the risks it would present to the organization, full password capture is not available in the tool and is not logged. **
8. Let the exercise run for several days, in order to catch stragglers. Once complete, analyze the logs and report the information to the security stakeholders in your organization. Don’t forget to approach the users who use successfully phished and give them some tips and information about how they should have detected this type of attack and what they should do to better manage such threats in the future.
That’s it – lather, rinse and repeat as you like!
If you would like to do more advanced phishing testing and social engineering exercises, please get in touch with an MSI account executive who can help put together a proposal and a work plan for performing deep penetration testing and/or ongoing persistent penetration testing using this and other common attack methods. As always, thanks for reading and until next time, stay safe out there!