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Businesses Lose Billions After Receiving Phishing Emails

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Businesses Lose Billions After Receiving Phishing Emails

BBC News reports a phishing email with the invoice for $8 million was sent to the Company Chief Executive. Subsequently, the Company Chief Executive forwarded the phishing email similar to hundreds of other valid emails to the Finance Officer. The employee thought nothing of it and wired the $8 million.

Generally, spear phishing attacks are relatively low-tech and rely more on social engineering and trickery than traditional hacking. Cyber-criminals simply spoof the email address of a company executive or a trusted employee and send a convincing request to an unsuspecting employee.

According to the US-CERT targeted phishing email campaigns are on the rise this summer. The phishing email campaigns act as an entry point for attackers to spread throughout an organization’s entire enterprise, steal sensitive business or personal information, or disrupt business operations.

It was not until later on that both companies noticed a significant problem with the $8 million wire transfer. The company acquiring the $8 million called to ask why they have not received the money. Ultimately, an investigation was immediately started. It showed the $8 million was definitely sent. The question remains on where the $8 million went.

Eventually, the banks were able to claw some of the money back. However, most of the money was obtained by the hackers who may have cashed out using an ‘elaborate money-laundering network’.

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