Nigerian Phishing attack on companies

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Olivia Storey

Nigerian Phishing scammers are targeting industrial companies worldwide, with well composed emails and messages which contain malicious content.

Phishing is a way for scammers to steal credentials and sensitive information, like usernames, passwords, and financial information.

The usual tactic is via sending convincing emails or instant messages, even things like WhatsApp have been used to target victims. Phishing emails can contain links to malicious websites, which could be infected with malware. The initial email is intended to deceive and exploit the victim, and to ‘bait’ them into opening malicious links.

The Nigerian scammers created phishing messages that were effectively disguised as business correspondence and were used to distribute an exploit.

The emails were made to look as legitimate as possible in order to encourage employees who receive them to open the malicious attachments without suspicion. They used companies that did business with the potential victims, like customers and suppliers, as the ‘sender’ of the email.

All the emails had a malicious attachments designed to steal confidential data and install remote administration tools.

Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, looks at why phishing can be so successful, like we saw with Google and Facebook, and how businesses can protect themselves from attacks like this.

“Scammers are opportunistic.

“They understand they need to adapt and they will change their tactics to get the best result.

“With 419 scams being so synonymous with the general public, the scope for business users being victims is massive.

“We also need to consider the scope for larger single successful attacks reaping the benefits much quicker than the smaller, and often much harder sells through the general public.

“As with any email or social engineering based attack, the biggest defence is education.

“Having your staff understand the current threat landscape, and ensuring they are very comfortable questioning suspect emails will help towards staying victim free.

“Of course it’s absolutely necessary to have a good regularly updating multi-layered security product installed on endpoints and servers to help with the fight against malware, and a tested point-in-time backup held offsite in case of ransomware attacks.

“In a business environment these types of emails are more likely to succeed than individuals.

“The movement of large monies, attachments in emails and dealing with strangers make it so much harder to spot suspect emails, but with the right education and a good email filtering system it’s very doable.”


How many phishing emails do you think you see in a day? Let us know on Twitter @ESETUK.


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