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“Consent Phishing” Is New Type of Email Attack

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Criminals gain access to your inbox.

Cyber-criminals have opened up a new front in the cyber wars by using “consent phishing” to gain entry into your email inbox. Once they purloin your user credentials, they can breach your email whenever they choose, whether you’re logged onto your computer or not. Following is a post from KnowBe4 CEO Stu Sjouwerman dissecting this scam.

Post by Stu Sjouwerman (reprinted with permission)

We’ve seen a number of these kinds of phishing attacks over the last 12 months targeting mailbox access within Microsoft 365 and even posing as Coinbase. If you’re not familiar with these attacks, rather than trick the phishing victim into providing their Microsoft 365 credentials (which can easily be reset), the attack poses as a legitimate app and asks for application access to your mailbox (for reference, Outlook Mobile does this to facilitate continual access for your mobile phone to access your Microsoft 365 mailbox).

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In a recent tweet from Microsoft Security Intelligence, a new App – simply entitled “Upgrade” – was identified asking for OAuth permissions that would allow attackers to create inbox rules, read and write emails and calendar items, and read contacts. It’s also noted that suspicious Inbox Rules are created by this access and appears to exfiltrate emails.

The good news is Microsoft has disabled this apps access across all of Microsoft 365. However, this does little for organizations, as new apps can be created asking for the same kinds of access.

The pivotal point where the attack can be stopped is when the malicious app is asking for access. Educating your users with Security Awareness Training would help ensure they are aware that – other than something like Outlook Mobile or another legitimate application  – no unexpected phishing email EVER needs access to their mailbox.

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Source: KnowBe4 Microsoft Warns of Latest “Consent Phishing” Attack Intent on Reading Your Email (


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