Phishers Siphon Off Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Minutes

phishers_DollarsAnother reason to keep your computer malware free: cyber-pirates raided several businesses as well as a school in recent attacks through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network.

The losses, which ranged from $150,000 to more than $400,000, were accomplished by the crooks in mere minutes. Luckily for these companies, the banks managed to reverse some of the transfers. If they hadn’t, the losses would have amounted to $700,000 up to a whopping $1.2 million.

The modus operandi of the hackers is simple. Making use of the ACH network, they send out “phishing” emails to account holders. When the recipient clicks on the link, malicious software – a Trojan horse or virus – automatically downloads itself to the recipient’s computer, allowing the hacker to infiltrate the system. Keylogging software (software that tracks keystrokes) is installed, which gives phishers access account numbers, names, and passwords. They then divert the company’s funds into their own accounts.

ACH fraudsters can also use the same method to not only siphon off money into their own pockets, but also to establish “ghost employees”, which they insert into the payroll and qualify to receive regular paychecks.

While banks are doing their best to strengthen the system, they can only do so much, and experts admit that the ACH network is a very old system compared to today’s standards. The volume of money that flows through the ACH is also so massive that it is difficult to keep track of specific amounts for specific accounts.

Despite its shortcomings, the ACH system still remains widely used, and the best defence is to guard your system well. For our clients, we have firewalls and anti-malware software in place, but you should also make sure your bookkeepers and staff are briefed on how to avoid being the victim of fake phishing emails.

If you have any questions or concerns please give us a call.

For more details about this story, visit http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9136334/Cyber_attackers_empty_business_accounts_in_minutes?taxonomyId=17&pageNumber=1.

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