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

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honoured its top performing partners across the channel in Australia and New Zealand, recognising innovation and excellence on both sides of the Tasman. Revealed under the Vivid lights in Sydney, Intalock claimed the coveted Partner of the Year 2017 (Pacific) award, with Data#3 acknowledged for 12 months of strong growth across the market. Meanwhile, Datacom took home the New Zealand honours, with Global Storage and Insentra winning service provider and consulting awards respectively. Dicker Data was recognised as the standout distributor of the year, while Hitachi Data Systems claimed the alliance partner award. Photos by Bob Seary.

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners
Show Comments