As threat actors look for ways to evade detection by security solutions, the use of cloud applications has seen a material jump in the last 12 months, according to new data.

While we see plenty of cyberattacks that utilize dark infrastructure to accomplish their malicious activities, more and more we’re seeing a trend where threat actors are taking advantage of web-based application platforms to utilize their legitimacy to ensure phishing email delivery all the way to the Inbox.

In the latest report from Palo Alto Network’s Unit42, Legitimate SaaS Platforms Being Used to Host Phishing Attacks, we find that the increases are far greater than expected. According to the report, the following types of SaaS platforms were included in their analysis of phishing URLS:

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Source: Palo Alto

What they found is a staggering and continually increasing trend of misuse of these platforms to host phishing URLS. In the 12 months between June of 2021 and June 2022, the number of malicious phishing URLs increased 1,100%.


Source: Palo Alto

According to the report, these sites were used for a number of purposes, including:

  • Design / Prototyping
  • Website Building
  • Form Building

The end result is websites that are made to look like legitimate impersonated brands for attacks focused on both credential theft and fraud.

And, given the “hockey stick” chart above, organizations should expect this to continue, making it more difficult to spot phishing emails via security solutions. This makes it necessary to employ users to play a role in identifying and stopping phishing emails – something they’ll need to be educated on via Security Awareness Training to do it effectively.