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The professionals at Acme Business know the dangers of phishing attacks and the ways bad actors try to compromise your business cybersecurity. (Sometimes they try to compromise you personally.) One of the ways they steal your business’s information is HTML smuggling.

Ever heard of it? It’s a lesser-known cyber threat associated with phishing. This type of attack is not new, but it’s quickly gained popularity over time as an accomplice with phishing. Using social engineering, it’s an effective tool to distribute malware. It can lure a victim into opening and clicking a hyperlink by impersonating trusted brands.

HTML Smuggling: Could Your Business Cybersecurity Be At Risk?

HTML smuggling is a tactic used in phishing and spear phishing attacks that abuses the flexibility of HTML. So the short answer is yes. All businesses – and individuals – could be susceptible to this type of cybercrime.

As usual, let’s define it a bit further and work toward proactive solutions.

In HTML smuggling, a bad actor uses features of HTML5 and JavaScript to create malicious files behind a firewall. It utilizes the download attribute for the beginning of an anchor tag (the beginning and end of a hyperlink) to help with the creation and use of a JavaScript blob (a chunk of data in Java). When a hyperlink is clicked, the HTML page downloads a ZIP file embedded with the JavaScript blob. and it’s used to put together the payload and download it into the device.

These cybercriminals often say to follow the link to use a local file or keep access to a file.

Most people would not click a hyperlink by itself from an unknown email. But bad actors can be convincing when impersonating services like Google Drive, Adobe Acrobat, or OneDrive. That’s why businesses and organizations collectively lose well over $1 billion to phishing scams and similar tactics like this every year! We’d say that’s more than enough reason to continually invest in business cybersecurity software and skills training.

Preventing HTML Smuggling With SentinelOne

Since HTML smuggling is used for phishing attacks, social engineering and user interaction is a key part of its success. (There are ways to avoid phishing that we covered in our recent article Phishing Attacks: Preventing the Most Common Type of Cyber Attack.) These tactics, used correctly, should prevent someone from falling for phishing scams in general. And, of course, we always recommend organizations offer training on all types of business cybersecurity strategies.

Counteracting HTML smuggling needs a defense-in-depth strategy that our business cybersecurity partner SentinelOne can easily implement and automate. With multiple layers of security, it’s possible to stop an attack at the email gateway and web filtering level. If the threat manages to bypass both those checkpoints to the host device, SentinelOne’s endpoint protection controls can prevent execution of the malware.

Bolster Your Business Cybersecurity by Preparing for Phishing Scams That Use HTML Smuggling

Users are often told not to trust unexpected attachments via email and text message. But HTML smuggling is a common business cybersecurity threat because hyperlinks are often considered safe in the professional world.

Consider how often you click links from reputable sources. They are consistently used throughout business communications, so bad actors can easily trick most users through social engineering to appear as a big brand name or trusted contact.

The business cybersecurity experts at Acme Business can help to guide your processes and protocols. We also offer fully managed security services. Call Acme Business at (716) 372-1325 and connect with us on LinkedIn. Our experts can tailor managed IT services to your unique business needs.