Menu
Work in finance or accounting? Watch out for 'whaling' attacks

Work in finance or accounting? Watch out for 'whaling' attacks

These emails are tricky to detect, security firm Mimecast warns

If you work in finance or accounting and receive an email from your boss asking you to transfer some funds to an external account, you might want to think twice.

That's because so-called "whaling" attacks -- a refined kind of phishing in which hackers use spoofed or similar-sounding domain names to make it look like the emails they send are from your CFO or CEO -- are on the rise, according to security firm Mimecast.

In fact, 55 percent of the 442 IT experts Mimecast surveyed this month said their organizations have seen an increase in the volume of whaling attacks over the last three months, the firm reported on Wednesday.

Those organizations spanned the U.S., U.K., South Africa and Australia.

Domain-spoofing is the most popular strategy, accounting for 70 percent of such attacks, Mimecast said; the majority pretend to be the CEO, but some 35 organizations had seen whaling emails attributed to the CFO.

“Whaling emails can be more difficult to detect because they don’t contain a hyperlink or malicious attachment, and rely solely on social engineering to trick their targets,” said Orlando Scott-Cowley, a cybersecurity strategist with Mimecast.

Often, sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter give attackers the details they need to execute whaling attacks, Mimecast said.

So what's an accountant to do? Mimecast has a few suggestions.

Educating senior management, key staff and finance teams is one of them; another is conducting tests on your own business through mock whaling attacks to see how vulnerable your staff are.

Inbound email stationery that marks emails originating outside the corporate network can be another useful tool, as can domain name registration alert services, which will alert you when domains are created that closely resemble your company's.

“The barriers to entry for whaling attacks are dangerously low," said Scott-Cowley. "As whaling becomes more successful for cybercriminals, we are likely to see a continued increase in their popularity."

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Show Comments