More than €40 million scammed out of a Europe’s largest wire manufacturer Leoni AG. The scam was carried out in early August 2016 in a Romanian subdivision of the company.
The Leoni Attack – How Did it happen?
The scammers targeted Leoni‘s main factory in Romania. The crooks tricked the factory’s CFO, reportedly a young woman, to send them the massive sum. Considering the amount of money that stolen, the crooks must have done some serious planning beforehand.
The method of scamming was to create a fake email that would pass by administrative control. It was likely a clone of a genuine email from the company’s German executives. The factory’s staff notified the Romanian policy as soon as they discovered the scam. Local media outlets were the first to report the incident.
Scamming Through Emails
Email scams are nothing new. Users rarely check the validity of the emails they receive. The CFO of Leoni’s Romanian factory received the email on a secure channel, and the message looked inconspicuous. In current times, merely eyeballing the email before opening and transferring money to it isn’t enough. Users and employees should be more educated about the risks of hacking, fraud, and scamming.
Last month, there was a case of a support scam that almost perfectly copied the URL of Microsoft. It may seem like it’s impossible for users to protect themselves from these malicious attacks, but that’s not true. Every system has its weak points. This is true for both legitimate software and malicious content. There’s always a zipper on the monster’s costume. For example, the Google Chrome scam URLs had a “ru-ru” extension in the domain name. Anti-virus tools also help a lot.
€40 million – just a drop in the bucket
The sum of 40 million may seem like a huge amount to mere mortals like us, but cybercriminals worldwide make billions of dollars every year. Ransomware scammers alone made $209 million in the first half of 2016.
A single group of five scammers stole 12 million BHT in Thailand last month. The crooks still haven’t been caught and are likely to resume operations in other parts of the globe.
It remains unknown who was behind the scam of Leoni, and how much of the money they’ve kept, but there are unconfirmed reports that the 40 million ended up in bank accounts in the Czech Republic.
Leoni Has Released an Official Statement Regarding the Scam on 16 August 2016:
The liquidity situation of the Leoni Group has not been adversely affected in any material way. The performance of Leoni’s operations is in line with the forecast.
However, the company’s stock market value has fallen since (and most likely because of) the incident. Leoni is one of the world’s largest electronic wire manufacturers. Founded in 1917, it mostly supplies the auto industry. Among Leoni’s customers are big names like Mercedes, Rolls Royce, and BMW. Big name corporations like that are also, if not even more, threatened from attacks by cyber criminals. The largest employer in the state of Arizona, Banner Health was also attacked this year. Lawsuits soon followed.