A 48-year-old Lithuanian man by the name of ‘Evaldas Rimasauskas’ was arrest last week by the U.S. Department of Justice for defrauding two renowned U.S. technology companies out of $100 million through sophisticated whaling attacks.
Whaling is a social engineering technique used by cyber criminals to trick finance controllers at large organizations into transferring money into a fraudulent bank account.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim explained:
“From half a world away, Evaldas Rimasauskas allegedly targeted multinational internet companies and tricked their agents and employees into wiring over $100 million to overseas bank accounts under his control. This case should serve as a wake-up call to all companies – even the most sophisticated – that they too can be victims of phishing attacks by cybercriminals."
Rimasauskas targeted the two companies in specific between 2013 and 2015, one being a ‘multi-national technology company’ and the other a ‘multi-national online social media company’.
The fraudulent bank accounts belonged to companies that Rimasauskas had set up with the same name as an unnamed ‘Asian-based computer hardware manufacturer’ that the duped companies were involved in legitimate business with.
Rimasauskas’s phishing emails looked to be sent from the real Asian hardware manufacturer, claiming that the victim company owed the manufacturer X amount of money for unpaid invoices. The funds that were paid by the victim companies were put into the accounts of the company he’d set up himself and were then transferred to various different banks across the world, including Hong Kong, Slovakia, Hungary, and more.
Phishing and Whaling remain increasingly popular attack methods amongst cyber criminals. These financially driven criminals are far more successful than many understand. That’s why it’s vitally important that organizations implement a two-pronged approach to security. First, get layered defenses in place. Then back it up with real-time host intrusion detection through File Integrity Monitoring. This ensures that if an attacker successfully breaches your systems, you will at least know about it in real-time and be able to respond immediately.
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