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Culprit of FAAC Cyber Attack in Austria Arrested in Hong Kong

Culprit of FAAC Cyber Attack in Austria Arrested in Hong Kong
Investigations into a cyber attack in Austrian aerospace parts maker FACC have led the investigators to arrest a man from China. The cyber attack had cost the firm 42 million euros ($47.39 million), Austrian police said on Friday.
In a kind of scam that is known as a "fake president incident", hoax emails were sent asking an employee to transfer money for a fake acquisition project. Following the incident the chief executive and chief financial officer of the company were fired by FACC.
FACC's customers include Airbus and Boeing.
A spokesman for Austria's Federal Office for Crime said that the person arrested from China is a 32-year-old man and was arrested on July 1 on suspicion of money laundering. The arrested person was an authorized signatory of a Hong Kong-based firm that received around 4 million euros of the siphoned amount from FACC.
The mode of the cyber attack was very interesting. Often termed as "business email compromise", such attacks start with getting access to one or more legitimate email accounts inside a company which often are of top company executives with power to take out money and then such email accounts are used to distribute false instructions to subordinates in the company which often leads to unauthorized transfers of funds.
Businesses that have operating relations with international suppliers and are in the habit of regularly performing wire transfers are generally the target of this type of cyber fraud or cyber attacks. Both, simple trickery or more sophisticated computer intrusions are used as techniques in these types of cyber thefts.
After the incident investigators claimed that 10 million euros had been found and frozen on accounts in different countries around the world. The company was now working at getting back the money from the accounts, a spokesman for FACC said.
However neither the location details of the accounts nor details of the arrests were given by the spokesman.
In the past 18 months, the losses from this scam had risen by 1,300 percent compared to the total of $3.1 billion that was identified by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Such incidents of forgery from all 50 U.S. states and in 100 countries around the world have been reported by 22,143 victims.
With the majority of transfer accounts situated in Asian banks located in China and Hong Kong, reports indicate that fraudulent transfers have been made to 79 countries, the FBI said.
“Ransomware”, a type of malicious software that thieves use to blocks access to a computer until a ransom is paid, is another tool that is used for cyber attacks and has received much media attention over the past year.
The two trends are the fastest growing cyber security threats to businesses worldwide, security experts say.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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