Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the Fraud and Cyber Crime Group.
Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the Fraud and Cyber Crime Group. Contributed

Hackers targeting Aussie firms' overseas suppliers

AUSTRALIAN businesses are being warned to be on alert when receiving emails from overseas partners or suppliers which detail changes to bank accounts to which money is paid.

Police say companies, often overseas in Asia, are being hacked by cyber criminals who then monitor the company's email network.

From this activity they can then identify other client entities, obtain corporate communication protocols, intercept documents and valuable intellectual property.

Hackers then replicate official corporate emails and send messages to clients advising the company's bank details have changed and provide alternate bank account particulars which has been setup by the offender.

Australian businesses are regularly losing amounts from tens of thousands to even millions of dollars to this fraud.

Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the Fraud and Cyber Crime Group recommends that any time a business receives an email from an overseas entity requesting a change in payment structure, it is vital they seek verification before proceeding with any funds transfer.

"This verification must not be via email as the hacker may have the capacity to intercept the email and respond positively on behalf of the compromised company.

"Thus, it is necessary to seek alternate verification eg, a trusted third party, phone call, or skype channel," Detective Superintendent Hay said.

"This type of fraud is increasing and it is near impossible to recover any funds that are lost. Australian victims are losing money several times a week to this fraud.

"It is very important that strict vigilance is maintained when dealing with overseas suppliers and service providers and any request for changes in payment structure is treated with a high degree of suspicion," he said.

If a company has been subject of this fraud or if it has been attempted upon them, they should conduct a review of their cyber security as they may have been compromised.

It has been reported that on average hackers have infiltrated a victim company for 83 days before they are identified.

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