Phishing Scam Targets Executives

May 20, 2008 10:47 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
An estimated 2,000 high-level U.S. executives have been victimized by e-mails appearing to be subpoenas from a district court. It is the latest instance of spear-phishing, a sophisticated and personalized form of phishing.

30-Second Summary

The e-mails were sent to thousands of executives across the country, claiming to be subpoenas from the San Diego District Court. It asks the recipient to download the full subpoena, which installs tracking software that allows the scammer to gain access to the computer’s data.

The scam is an example of spear-phishing, a kind of phishing that targets specific companies and other types of organizations. Unlike regular phishing, spear-phishing has a personal touch that lures the recipient into trusting it.

“It had my name, phone number, company and correct e-mail address on it and looked pretty legitimate,” one executive said.

Spear-phishing has been a problem for several years now, causing trouble for companies, universities and many other computer users. Authorities advise that users should never send out personal information via e-mail, regardless of who asks for it.

Headline Link: Executives targeted by scam

Background: The rise of spear-phishing

Related Topics: Other victims of spear-phishing

Reference: Protecting yourself from phishing scams


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines