New Zealand businesses warned after major chain hit by phishing scam

Photo credit; elhombredenegro on Flickr

Photo credit; elhombredenegro on Flickr

NetSafe is warning businesses to be alert after a major retail chain was targeted by overseas cyber criminals in a well-planned phishing attack that attempted to convince store staff to install rogue software on their computers.

IT staff at the chain, which NetSafe would not name, said employees at one branch had downloaded malicious software into computers in the branch after being called by an individual claiming to work for the chain.

The caller identified himself as a senior member of the company and directed employees to a fake website that was designed to look like the chain’s official tech support site.

Staff at the store then downloaded a malicious program that tried to take over computers.

The company’s IT staff noticed what was happening and blocked further access to the fake website on all their systems before cleaning up and alerting all stores to the bogus caller, NetSafe’s cyber security programme manager Chris Hails said.

“The effort that has gone into creating a convincing fake website and the use of a real executive’s name is what concerns us,” Hails said.

“The website which delivered the malicious software was designed using the company’s branding, logo and corporate style and the criminals had gone to some effort to register a URL which contained the chain’s name.”

Hails said the retail chain had asked Netsafe to keep its identity confidential but wanted others to be aware of the scam.

“Although there were no losses, the company felt there was the potential for people to feel they couldn’t trust them anymore,” he said.

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