Phishing tactics are constantly changing and while email is still one of the most common ways of getting malicious content in front of end users, other forms of phishing are growing. Smishing (SMS phishing) has increased considerably in recent years, and vishing (voice phishing) is also common, especially for IT support scams.

Another method of malware delivery that has seen an enormous increase recently is the use of instant messaging and VoIP social platform Discord. Discord is a platform that has long been popular with gamers, due to being able to create a server with voice and text for no extra cost, both of which are necessary for teamspeak in gaming. While gamers still account for a majority of users, usage for non-gaming purposes is growing.

The platform is also proving popular with cybercriminals who are using it for phishing campaigns and malware distribution. According to Bitdefender, the antivirus company whose technology powers the SpamTitan email sandboxing feature, more than 50,000 malicious links have been detected on Discord in the past 6 months. Around a year ago, a campaign was detected that used Discord to send links to a malicious site resulting in the delivery of PureCrypter malware – a fully featured malware loader that is used for distributing information stealers and remote access trojans.

Discord responded to the misuse of the platform and implemented changes such as adding a 24-hour expiry for links to internally hosted files, which made it harder for malicious actors to use the platform for hosting malware. While this move has hampered cybercriminals, the platform is still being used for malware distribution. One of the latest malicious Discord campaigns is concerned with obtaining credentials and financial information rather than distributing malware.

The campaign involves sending links that offer users a free Discord Nitro subscription. Discord Nitro provides users with perks that are locked for other users, such as being able to use custom emojis anywhere, set custom video backgrounds, HD video streaming, bigger file uploads, and more. Discord Nitro costs $9.99 a month, so a free account is attractive.

If the user clicks the link in the message, they are directed to a fake Discord website where they are tricked into disclosing credentials and financial information. Other Discord Nitro lures have also been detected along the same theme, offering advice on how to qualify for a free Discord Nitro subscription by linking to other accounts such as Steam. According to Bitdefender, 28% of detected malicious uses are spam threats, 27% are untrusted, around 20% are phishing attempts and a similar percentage involve malware distribution.

Any platform that allows direct communication with users can be used for phishing and other malicious purposes. Security awareness training should cover all of these attack vectors and should get the message across to end users that they always need to be on their guard whether they are on email, SMS, instant messaging services, or the phone. By running training courses continuously throughout the year, businesses can develop a security culture by training their employees to be constantly on the lookout for phishing and malware threats and developing the skills that allow them to identify threats.

Developing, automating, and updating training courses to include information on the latest threats, tactics techniques, and procedures used by threat actors is easy with the SafeTitan security awareness training platform. SafeTitan makes training fun and engaging for end users and the platform has been shown to reduce susceptibility to phishing and malware threats by up to 80%.

If you are not currently running a comprehensive security awareness training program for your workforce or if you are looking to improve your training. Give the TitanHQ team a call and ask about SafeTitan. SafeTitan is one product in a suite of cloud-based security solutions for businesses and managed service providers, which includes an enterprise spam filter, a malicious file sandbox for email, a DNS-based web filter, email encryption, email archiving, and phishing protection for M365.