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

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.
44% of Security Threats Start in the Cloud
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  2/19/2020
Zero-Factor Authentication: Owning Our Data
Nick Selby, Chief Security Officer at Paxos Trust Company,  2/19/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-9385
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-25
A NULL Pointer Dereference exists in libzint in Zint 2.7.1 because multiple + characters are mishandled in add_on in upcean.c, when called from eanx in upcean.c during EAN barcode generation.
CVE-2020-9382
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-24
An issue was discovered in the Widgets extension through 1.4.0 for MediaWiki. Improper title sanitization allowed for the execution of any wiki page as a widget (as defined by this extension) via MediaWiki's } parser function.
CVE-2020-1938
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-24
When using the Apache JServ Protocol (AJP), care must be taken when trusting incoming connections to Apache Tomcat. Tomcat treats AJP connections as having higher trust than, for example, a similar HTTP connection. If such connections are available to an attacker, they can be exploited in ways that ...
CVE-2020-9381
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-24
controllers/admin.js in Total.js CMS 13 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a POST to the /admin/api/widgets/ URI. This can be exploited in conjunction with CVE-2019-15954.
CVE-2019-17569
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-24
The refactoring present in Apache Tomcat 9.0.28 to 9.0.30, 8.5.48 to 8.5.50 and 7.0.98 to 7.0.99 introduced a regression. The result of the regression was that invalid Transfer-Encoding headers were incorrectly processed leading to a possibility of HTTP Request Smuggling if Tomcat was located behind...