Emmanuel Marshall 24 November 2017 17:19:32 AEDT 8 MIN READ

Ransomware, Scams & Cyber Monday - Weekly Digest

On Wednesday this week, MailGuard CEO Craig McDonald published a thought provoking post on the blog dealing with cybercrime attacks against senior management and business owners.

In his article Craig writes:

"Brad (not his real name) is the founder and CEO of a major logistics company. The story he told me is astonishing, but unfortunately, it is also true. It started at 6:25 pm on a Friday. Brad sat down at his computer and clicked open his email inbox. The message at the top was titled: ‘deal closed/clown found.’ It was a typically short and good-humoured note from his PA:

‘Selina has closed the deal in Seattle. Payment authority link attached. Congratulations; You will soon own Washington’s second-biggest logistics company.

Brad was stoked; it was the perfect ending to the working week... Brad clicked open the link in Aaron’s message that took him directly to the payment authorisation form and entered his pin code that would authorise the transfer of approximately $20 million and secure the acquisition of his first logistics business in Seattle. 

As he drove home Brad got a call from Aaron on his cell phone.

“Sorry to bug you Brad, I know you’re in weekend-dad-mode now, but I think you’ll be happy to get this news; the deal’s gone through in Seattle..."

“No problem, buddy. I authorised that payment as soon as I got your email. It’s done.”

There was a brief silence on Aaron’s end of the conversation.

“My email? What email? I knew you would have left the office already so I called you. I didn’t send you an email.”

It was at this moment that the smile faded from Brad’s face and a feeling of unease began to grow in his mind..."


This story does not have a happy ending...

In his article Craig describes the devestating consequences that email cybercrime can have on businesspeople and offers insights into dealing with this growing problem.

>> Read the rest of Craig McDonald's article - Business Owners Hunted - There's Blood in the Water - on the blog, here.


Energy Australia Scam

This week started with a busy Monday for cybercriminals and spam-bots.

View your EnergyAustralia Electricity bill here - Mozilla Thunderbird_287 (002).png

The MailGuard system detected large volumes of criminal-intent emails on Monday, including this crafty number, designed to look like a bill notice from Energy Australia; one of Australia’s largest utility companies.

As you can see from the screenshot this is a well made fake. The formatting of the email makes it look very convincing, and it’s easy to imagine this one could fool a lot of people.

The sender address on the email header reads: ‘noreply[at]energyau[dot]com.’ Although it has an authentic look to it, this domain was created with a Chinese domain registrar this morning and is in no way connected to the real Energy Australia company website which is at: ‘energyaustralia[dot]com[dot]au’

>> Read the full article here.


Telstra Brandjacked Again:

On Tuesday, a large-scale fake email attack was launched, trying to trick people into believing that it was from Telstra. 

Your new Telstra bill - Mozilla Thunderbird_289.png

This is well executed fake, using a sophisticated HTML design utilising authentic looking graphical elements and layout. The criminals behind this scam have even obtained a URL to make their email look more convincing.  

Although this email is completely bogus, the average recipient could easily be deceived into thinking that it is a genuine Telstra communication.

>> Read more about this email scam here.


Bogus CommBank Phishing Email

Commonwealth Bank
 is one of Australia’s best known and most trusted brands, so it’s irresistible to phishing scammers.

Changes made in your NetBank Account - Mozilla Thunderbird_293.png

On Tuesday this week, criminal-intent emails were detected by MailGuard using CommBank branding to try and trick millions of bank customers into giving up their credit card details.

As with many of the more cleverly designed phishing emails MailGuard intercepts, this scam is getting victims to follow a link to a bogus sign-in page. Once the victim enters their personal data, the form asks them for their credit card credentials.

The screenshot above is a sample of the email MailGuard intercepted. Note the authentic-looking branding in the header. MailGuard successfully intercepted this phishing attack and protected our client’s inboxes.

If you are not a MailGuard customer and received this scam email, contact our team of cybersecurity experts, on 1300 30 44 30, who will advise you on how to take appropriate action.

>> Read the full story on the blog, here.


Ransomware Scams are Booming Business: 

On Thursday my editorial article on the MailGuard Blog went to the issue of ransomware and it's serious impact on companies that fall victim to it:

ransomware1.jpegTwenty years ago, if a crime boss wanted to get rich quick, they’d get a crew together, buy some hot guns, steal a getaway car and rob a bank. In the digital era, stealing massive sums of money is much less risky, and a lot less dramatic.

According to a recent report released by endpoint security company Carbon Black, sales of ransomware on the dark web have shot up 2,500% since 2016.

Basic ransomware can be had for as little as US$0.50 in the illicit software marketplace, so it’s little wonder that this is a booming industry.

>> Read the rest of this article here.


Hunting Season for Scammers

Today we wrapped up the week with an article about the holiday season and the opportunity cybercriminals have to prey on consumers during this boom-time for online commerce. 

scam-holidays-giftv2.v3.jpg‘Black Friday’; ‘Cyber Monday’; it’s impossible not to get caught up in the excitement and give my credit card a walloping. It’s all a lot of fun (especially getting outrageously cool electronic gadgets for the kids x-mas pressies) but… I need to sound a note of caution:

holiday-season is hunting season for email scammers.

Nine of of 10 cyber-attacks start with an email. Not only is it popular, it is also an old technology and therefore relatively easy to manipulate for dishonest ends. During the holiday season we see an uptick in the scams that exploit the brands of retailers like Bunnings and Aldi, and parcel delivery companies like DHL or AusPost...

>> Read the rest of this article here.


Protect Your Inbox

Most people don’t realise how easy it is for cybercriminals to create and send scam emails. Fortunately, MailGuard offers cloud-based email security that detects and eliminates criminal-intent email before it even lands in your inbox.

Have a safe and secure weekend, and please exercise caution when clicking.

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