US-based FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) is clamming that Nigerian hackers and cyber criminals masterminding a grand theft of information and money running into billions of dollars, worldwide. According to experts, the Nigerians are able to carry out the heist by sending phishing emails to commercial organizations and industrial enterprises, which they later steal dry.
The FBI estimates that these phishing attacks have cost companies over $3 billion. The number of affected companies exceeds 22,143. Kaspersky Labs, an internet security company said it has found over 500 companies that are under attack in at least 50 countries. Those under attack are mostly industrial enterprises and large transportation and logistics corporations, based in Germany, UAE, Russia and India.
In a blog post, Kaspersky said the cyber-criminals managed to steal technical drawings, floor plans and diagrams showing the structure of electrical and information networks. Researchers said that all indications are that these were business email compromise (BEC) attacks that have come to be associated with Nigerian cyber-criminals. Emails received by victims looked authentic enough to fool people.
‘Nigerian letters’ (a.k.a. 419 scams) have become classics of online fraud. The creators of fascinating stories about heiresses/widows/secretaries/lawyers of deceased millionaires/disgraced dictators/other fat cats didn’t win the Ig Nobel Prize for literature in 2005 for nothing. They may not be very highly qualified, but they certainly have a talent for extortion, and may well have been profiting from the greed and gullibility of their victims for years.
Several years ago, Nigerian phishers appeared on the radar of researchers. They were the same scammers who specialized in so-called Nigerian letters, but at the same time they were mastering new techniques for stealing money – this time, from companies. They are usually the ones behind business email compromise attacks.
There have been a good many publications on phishing attacks by Nigerian fraudsters in the past three years. This is no coincidence: this relatively new type of criminal business is gaining momentum. According to FBI estimates, the damage from Nigerian phisher activity from October 2013 to May 2016 exceeded US$3 billion and the number of affected companies was as high as 22,143. Those companies are scattered across 79 countries of the world.
In 2013-2015, mostly small and medium-size companies were attacked. The phishers gathered the email addresses of potential victims on the Internet.
That country called NIGERIA – it continues to surprise the world. They have “no technical skills”, yet it is doing this. Which one do you believe?