Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

FBI Warns Of 'Corporate Account Takeover' Scams

Attacks on small and midsize companies can be financially devastating, agency says

Cybercriminals are targeting the financial accounts of small and midsize businesses (SMBs), fraudulently transferring money directly from their accounts, the FBI warned yesterday.

In a fraud alert issued Wednesday, the FBI said "corporate account takeover" attacks use malware to steal passwords and other credentials from senior executives at SMBs and then use those credentials to empty the companies' coffers.

"To obtain access to financial accounts, cyber criminals target employees--often senior executives or accounting, HR personnel, and business partners--and cause the targeted individual to spread [malware], which in turn steals their personal information and log-in credentials," the FBI says in its full report (PDF).

"Once the account is compromised, the cyber criminal is able to electronically steal money from business accounts," the report explains. "Cyber criminals also use various attack methods to exploit check archiving and verification services that enable them to issue counterfeit checks, impersonate the customer over the phone to arrange funds transfers, mimic legitimate communication from the financial institution to verify transactions, create unauthorized wire transfers and ACH payments, or initiate other changes to the account."

In addition to targeting account information, attackers also seek to gain customer lists and other proprietary information, often using the same malware-spreading techniques, the report says.

The FBI first began warning enterprises about corporate account takeovers in 2006, but they are rising in numbers because cybercriminals have found them rather easy to perpetrate--especially when it comes to SMBs that don't have a dedicated IT security staff, the report says. The rewards are great--often surpassing hundreds of thousands of dollars--and the risk is low.

The FBI warns about unsolicited e-mails purportedly coming from delivery services, financial institutions, the IRS, the Better Business Bureau, federal courts, and even from compromised email accounts of other employees or executives of the firm. It urges employees to be wary of attachments seemingly containing PDFs or various MS Office files since they are usually constructed in such a way to allow them to exploit a vulnerability within the system.

The report also offers a variety of tips for protecting the enterprise, detecting the attacks, and responding to them. The FBI urges business owners to educate their employees and themselves, to strengthen the security of the computers and of the corporate network, and to be vigilant about corporate banking processes.

The agency also advises an everyday check of corporate accounts. If suspicious activity is detected, the FBI encourages an immediate interruption of online activity and reporting the potential problem to top management, to the financial institutions, and to the police.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

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
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Commentary
Cyberattacks Are Tailored to Employees ... Why Isn't Security Training?
Tim Sadler, CEO and co-founder of Tessian,  6/17/2021
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Powerful Cybersecurity Skills the Energy Sector Needs Most
Pam Baker, Contributing Writer,  6/22/2021
News
Microsoft Disrupts Large-Scale BEC Campaign Across Web Services
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/15/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-32823
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-24
In the bindata RubyGem before version 2.4.10 there is a potential denial-of-service vulnerability. In affected versions it is very slow for certain classes in BinData to be created. For example BinData::Bit100000, BinData::Bit100001, BinData::Bit100002, BinData::Bit<N>. In combination with &lt...
CVE-2021-35041
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-24
The blockchain node in FISCO-BCOS V2.7.2 may have a bug when dealing with unformatted packet and lead to a crash. A malicious node can send a packet continuously. The packet is in an incorrect format and cannot be decoded by the node correctly. As a result, the node may consume the memory sustainabl...
CVE-2021-2322
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-23
Vulnerability in OpenGrok (component: Web App). Versions that are affected are 1.6.7 and prior. Easily exploitable vulnerability allows low privileged attacker with network access via HTTPS to compromise OpenGrok. Successful attacks of this vulnerability can result in takeover of OpenGrok. CVSS 3.1 ...
CVE-2021-20019
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-23
A vulnerability in SonicOS where the HTTP server response leaks partial memory by sending a crafted HTTP request, this can potentially lead to an internal sensitive data disclosure vulnerability.
CVE-2021-21809
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-23
A command execution vulnerability exists in the default legacy spellchecker plugin in Moodle 3.10. A specially crafted series of HTTP requests can lead to command execution. An attacker must have administrator privileges to exploit this vulnerabilities.