Monday, May 20, 2024

The Biggest Phishing Scams of All Time

Nobody enjoys falling victim to one of the many online scams which occur in the modern day. Phishing is arguably one of the worst of them all, especially as hackers utilise new techniques and are seemingly showing no signs of slowing down in today’s technology-based world, which essentially plays right into their hands. As technology progresses, so too does the techniques which cybercriminals tend to use.

Over the course of history, phishing scams aren’t just having a dramatic effect on people either. In fact, these types of scams have duped some of the biggest companies in the world and have resulted in huge corporations losing hundreds of millions of hard-earned dollars. You’d think massive companies would have processes in place to stop such incidents occurring, but in the same way that we could be surfing the web for a bargain or playing penny roulette in the UK and then falling victim to a phishing scam out of nowhere, so too do the large corporations who are perhaps caught sleeping at times or simply don’t have the right procedures in place to stop such an attack. Sadly, phishing has become a popular method of attack for online criminals, and they have had some huge successes along the way.

Sony Pictures’ spear phishing scam

Song Pictures is one of the biggest companies in the world, which is why you probably wouldn’t expect to see them open up proceedings when in actual fact, the entertainment company fell victim to a massive spear phishing scam. It all started when a scammer sent a series of spear-phishing emails to Sony employees. Then, from there, hackers posed as company colleagues and then sent harmful malware to unsuspecting employees. This came after hackers reportedly used LinkedIn to research employees before executing their plan. As a result of their crimes, Sony Pictures lost over 100 terabytes of company data, and it reportedly cost the company more than $100 million.

CEO impersonation at Upsher-Smith Laboratories

Upsher-Smith Laboratories is a drug company most people know about, although not many are aware of the scam the company fell victim to. Hackers were essentially able to convince the company’s accounts department that they should send them money totalling more than $50 million in the shape of nine wired transfers. The company has since taken the bank in question to court after missing multiple red flags, which could have potentially led to the scam failing altogether.

Google and Facebook

This is a classic case of a fairly clever scammer who eventually saw the law catch up on them. Targeting Google and Facebook, the Lithuanian criminal sends one phishing email, which resulted in him carrying out a scam over the course of a few years. Claiming to be a computer parts vendor, he sent the companies a series of fake invoices between 2013 and 2015, which ended up being paid in full. The scammer was able to make around $120 million from both Google and Facebook before the law eventually caught up with him. He is now serving five years in jail.

The unbelievable Ukrainian power grid attack

Another scam that was successful after simply sending an email to company employees, the Ukrainian power grid attack, turned out to be huge news back in 2015 when the incident occurred. After targeting a power plant employee with a phishing email, a team of hackers were able to force a blackout and cause what goes down in history as a monumental security breach. In actual fact, it’s only the second time ever that an email containing harmful malware caused such a humongous blackout.


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