How IPFS is Used in Phishing Attacks

Apr 24, 2023


According to FEMA, 25% of businesses that close during a disaster never reopen. For small to medium-sized businesses, cybercrime can be a devastating disaster with long-reaching consequences. Especially in popular cybercrime tactics like phishing scams, attackers can steal confidential information and money and create a loss in business reputation and customer trust.

Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly creative and advanced, using sophisticated tactics in new digital arenas like the blockchain and The Interplanetary File System (IPFS).

What is The Interplanetary File System (IPFS)?

IPFS is a distributed file storage network that allows peer-to-peer sharing around the globe. Any computer can download the IPFS software and start hosting and serving files. Based on principles of web decentralization and transparency, IPFS uses cryptographic hashes called content identifiers (CIDs) that are often stored in the blockchain. Instead of identifying a file by its location, files are identified by their unique content identifier. Files are also immutable, meaning a new copy is made every time a change to a file is made.

Unlike traditional servers that rely on centralization through a single authority, IPFS operates freely and allows individual users to access and store files. However, IPFS is open, making it a popular target for cybercriminals.

How is IPFS Used in Phishing Attacks?

In traditional phishing attacks, the victim is sent a fraudulent website link, social network login, or another type of webpage identified to steal personal information. For example, a user might receive an email from “Amazon” saying their account has been locked, and they need to click this link and enter their username and password to “unlock” the account. The user inputs his or her information, which the cybercriminal can now steal. Phishing attacks often occur over email or text messages.

In a phishing attack hosted on IPFS, it’s cheaper for cybercriminals to host these fraudulent pages, and it’s more difficult to get them taken down. Because of the lack of authority and governing body over the decentralized system of IPFS, content needs to be erased from all instances, which can be tricky to do.

Protect Against IPFS Phishing

The first step in protecting against any kind of cybercrime is through employee security awareness training. Team members are often the first line of both defense and penetration, and informed employees can make a significant effort in ignoring and reporting suspicious activity.

Next, anti-spam solutions like Microsoft Exchange Online Protection can block and detect IPFS phishing links, ensuring they never even make it to an employee’s device for them to accidentally click on. Multi-factor authentication is also an important barrier in device protection and management, confirming the security and confidentiality of sensitive information – no matter the device an employee is on.

How to Defend Your Business Against Cybercrime

Whether it’s a traditional ransomware attack, a data breach, or a more sophisticated IPFS scam, businesses should actively prepare to defend against cybercrime. A key to staying in business after a disaster is to plan by developing a disaster recovery and business continuity plan and the best time to build a defense plan for your business is now. There are a few steps in developing a disaster recovery plan.

  1. Start with a risk assessment and vulnerability scan, identifying areas of weakness or vulnerable, outdated software and applications.
  2. Establish disaster recovery objectives.
  3. Test procedures and processes.
  4. Based on the results, revise the process, and create a written, formal plan with all leadership sign-off and buy-in.
  5. Continuously update the disaster recovery plan as needed.

For businesses that need extra support in developing a plan to prepare, prevent, and protect, Robust Network Solutions offers expert consulting services specialized in disaster recovery. We’ll work closely with your internal team to develop a comprehensive plan that defends against human, hardware, or software error, theft, malicious hacking, or intentional sabotage.

Also, backups are critical in disaster recovery, restoring business operations and allowing for continued operation. Robust Network Solutions specializes in developing a strong backup solution that combines on-premise and off-site or cloud options. We work closely with your in-house team to create a solution that fits your budget but also offers the right level of protection.

Robust Network Solutions Protects Against IPFS Phishing Attacks

Too many businesses rely on a single IT person to create, manage, and restore all mission-critical IT solutions. Outsourcing to an expertly managed services provider like Robust Network Solutions is more cost-effective and offers superior protection. Partnering with Robust Network Solutions for IT Services can significantly improve operational efficiency and cybersecurity while also providing a more advanced level of digital modernization and cost-savings.

Contact us today to learn how we can protect your organization from any cyberattack and explore recovery solutions on our website.