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Irish Businesses Hit by Invoice Redirect Scams, Gardaí Warn

Gardaí have reported a sharp increase in the number of invoice redirect and CEO fraud-style attacks on Irish businesses in the last few months. “We are getting a couple of cases every week now”, according to Detective Superintendent Pat Lordan, who said that both small and large companies are being hit for amounts ranging from €10,000 into the millions.

Staff should be very wary of any requests to change payment details from suppliers, and are advised to pick up the phone and speak to someone they know first.
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281 Arrests Made in Massive Business Email Compromise Ring Bust

In a global sting, named Operation reWired, authorities in the US and around the world have arrested 281 individuals that were involved in a global Business Email Compromise (BEC) scam. The ring had been under investigation for months, during which they were found to have hijacked email accounts belonging to company executives, impersonated staff and ultimately tricked unsuspecting employees into wiring millions in funds into the group’s accounts.

Business Email Compromise is a common tactic by cyber criminals which users social engineering to trick staff into transferring money directly to them
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As GDPR Looms – Cyber Criminals Move Towards Business Extortion

Trend Micro, one of the largest cyber security firms in the world, has released their annual security roundup report, and the results show some alarming trends. With the GDPR upcoming, cyber criminals have been refining their techniques in order to increase their financial gains, moving away from exploit kits which can be an unpredictable earner, to more reliable tactics such as business email compromise, phishing and spam, ransomware, and the relatively new threat to businesses, malicious crypto-currency mining.

Exploits kits are down, but 2017 saw over 300 new ransomware families, in addition to a rise in business email compromise scams and the all-new malicious crypto-mining threat.

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Dublin Zoo Hit by Cyber Criminals for €500,000

Dublin Zoo has admitted it has been hit by a scam in which cyber criminals were reportedly able to steal up to €500,000. The zoo has stated that they are cooperating with the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau in a case of invoice redirect fraud. While neither the Gardaí nor Dublin Zoo revealed the amount of money taken, sources have reported that it was up to €500,000, most of which was successfully recovered.

Reports indicate that Dublin Zoo may have lost up to €500,000 through the scam, with an estimated €130,000 remaining at large overseas.

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CEO or CFO Fraud

CEO/CFO Fraud is a phishing scam that has gained popularity in recent years, where cyber criminals hack or spoof the email address of a senior staff member and request an urgent payment to an unknown account. These phishing emails are usually sent to staff involved in the finance or accounts of the company, and request payment in a manner which is often outside normal payment procedures. These emails appear to be genuine to convince staff members to comply with the request, believing they are indeed from their company’s CEO or CFO. Once the money has been transferred to the criminal’s account, it is usually withdrawn again straight away and hidden elsewhere.

You should be extra vigilant of:
– Any payment request which is outside of normal policy or procedure, especially by email
– Any urgent or confidential request for payment transfer, especially if not respecting the standard procedure
– Any unusual request such a transfer of high amounts to an unknown account or to a country where the company does no business

If you do receive an unusual financial request by email, we strongly advise you to get verbal confirmation from the sender before taking any action.

Concerned that your organisation may be vulnerable to such phishing attacks? We’re offering a free phishing risk assessment for companies who want to find out and learn how to mitigate these dangers.