Attacks/Breaches
4/28/2014
08:00 AM
Tim Wilson
Tim Wilson
Quick Hits
50%
50%

Organized Crime Group Scams US Companies Out Of Millions

Social engineering attack tricks companies into large wire transfers.

An organized crime group has spent the last month defrauding US companies, fooling them into making large wire transfers into fake partners' accounts.

According to a blog posted Friday by researchers at security firm TrustedSec, the crime group is conducting "a major offensive" against US firms using a sophisticated social engineering attack that appears to be a request for funds from one of the victim companies' legitimate partners. The attacks have a high rate of success, often fooling enterprises into sending amounts of $50,000 to $1 million, the blog says.

"A number of companies are still unaware that they have been victims of this attack," TrustedSec says.

The attack works in much the same way as a traditional phishing attack, only the stakes are much higher. The attacker compromises an email account in the victim's accounting department -- or that of the business partner -- and then registers an Internet domain that is very similar to the partner's legitimate domain name.

The attacker will establish communications with the victim using the partner's email credentials, often communicating via legitimate company letterhead with legitimate signatures. Initially, the communications may include the legitimate domain names.

Once communications have been established, the attacker will then submit requests for funds, change orders, or lines of credit from the victim company, TrustedSec says. If the initial requests don't work, the attacker may spoof emails to authorize the funds transfer or conduct a convincing social engineering attack over the phone.

The attackers often are successful in getting wire transfers to the fake domains, the blog says. A large number of the transfers are processed by banks in China.

"Note that the attackers are persistent; they use emotional triggers in order to entice the affected company to expedite the fraudulent requests," says TrustedSec. "They will become agitated, demand that it be expedited and even spoof emails coming from internal employees to coax the company to hurrying the process. They will also target your company again if successful."

IT organizations should warn their accounting departments about this fraud and verify all transactions with third-party partners and vendors, TrustedSec advices.

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
securityaffairs
50%
50%
securityaffairs,
User Rank: Ninja
4/29/2014 | 5:22:56 AM
Re: notes, email security
Of course awareness could help to mitigate this type of cyber threats, but we must also consider that cybercrime ecosystems is adopting even more complex strategies to deceive victims. 

Another element which advantage cyber criminal gangs is the simplicity to acquire/rent products and services in the underground market at low prices but that are extremely effective. Let me suggest you the reading of my last post on the study published by TrenMicro on the Russian Ungerground.

 

http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/24440/cyber-crime/evolution-russian-underground.html

Regards

Pierluigi
DarkReadingTim
100%
0%
DarkReadingTim,
User Rank: Strategist
4/28/2014 | 9:56:22 AM
Re: notes, email security
Thanks for these thoughts, all good ones. Like most social engineering attacks, this can be avoided if you know what to look for. The key is getting accounting departments up to speed.
macker490
50%
50%
macker490,
User Rank: Ninja
4/28/2014 | 9:30:53 AM
notes, email security
="The attacker will establish communications with the victim using the partner's email credentials, often communicating via legitimate company letterhead with legitimate signatures. Initially, the communications may include the legitimate domain names."

1. verify e/mails by using a phone call.

this is the quickest and easy way to verify e/mail that we can all make a policy of,.... now.

2. learn PGP

you can inplement PGP/Desktop with Outlook, -- or -- you can use the ENIGMAIL plug-in with Thunderbird and GnuPG if you prefer open-source software.

PGP depends on a secure Operating System

keep this in mind

think about what you are doing.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8142
Published: 2014-12-20
Use-after-free vulnerability in the process_nested_data function in ext/standard/var_unserializer.re in PHP before 5.4.36, 5.5.x before 5.5.20, and 5.6.x before 5.6.4 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted unserialize call that leverages improper handling of duplicate keys w...

CVE-2013-4440
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 generates weak non-tty passwords, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the password via a brute-force attack.

CVE-2013-4442
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 uses weak pseudo generated numbers when /dev/urandom is unavailable, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the numbers.

CVE-2013-7401
Published: 2014-12-19
The parse_request function in request.c in c-icap 0.2.x allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via a URI without a " " or "?" character in an ICAP request, as demonstrated by use of the OPTIONS method.

CVE-2014-2026
Published: 2014-12-19
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the search functionality in United Planet Intrexx Professional before 5.2 Online Update 0905 and 6.x before 6.0 Online Update 10 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the request parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.