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Conde Nast Victimized With Spear Phishing Fraud

As accords to the legal papers from court, the accounts payable unit of media giant Conde Nast, during November 2010, got an e-mail, which posed as a communication from Quad/Graphics an outfit that printed journals for Conde Nast, so stated theatlantic.com dated April 5, 2011.

Deliberating an instruction, the e-mail stated that Conde Nast should dispatch money for paying in connection with the company's Quad/Graphics services via depositing the amount into certain bank account whose number was as given within the e-mail. The message also provided one authorization form for electronic payments, while mentioning Quad Graph as the owner of the bank account, although the name didn't exactly spell as the real Quad/Graphics.

However, somebody from Conde Nast seemingly filled in the form as well as returned it over fax through a number provided. Thereafter, he started depositing payment funds electronically into the mentioned bank account that was actually of the scammer.

This way the company wire-transferred $8m during November 17-December 30, 2010 to the account of Quad Graph prior to an intimation by the actual printer Quad/Graphics around 30th December 2010, asking of bills that were outstanding. The query alarmed Conde Nast and it launched an investigation to find out about the matter. Luckily it managed to reverse one $36,000 transfer back into a JPMorgan Chase account it held.

But Conde Nast had already deposited a large $7,870,530.02 into a Quad Graph account, and another $47,137.91 into the scammer Andy Surface's account. State the court documents, the two accounts were inter-linked.

Indeed, following the scam's discovery, the panicky Conde Nast approached FBI. Fortunately, the agency's investigators found the money inside the accounts that wasn't yet spent. And had Andy escaped from the country, the situation would've been far more expensive and awkward for Conde Nast.

Eventually, it's because of the above types of scams that phishing has increased so enormously recently. An IBM report, published lately, appears to make this observation more creditable as in that IBM discovered that whereas there was a fall in overall phishing assaults since 2009, spear phishing had increased during 2010, making it an important attack medium.

Related article: Canada - A Major Stimulator of Spam, Says Cisco

» SPAMfighter News - 4/14/2011

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