Google and Facebook were phished for over $100m, it has been reported, proving not even the biggest technology companies in the world are immune from the increasingly sophisticated attacks of online scammers.
Last month it was reported that two major tech companies were tricked by a Lithuanian man into sending him over $100m (£77m). Evaldas Rimasauskas, 48, was charged with wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft for impersonating Quanta Computer – a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer that includes Google, Facebook and Apple as clients.
Now an investigation by Fortune has shown that the two firms Rimasauskas reportedly sent fraudulent invoices to were Facebook and Google, who both paid out over $100m.
Facebook said in a statement: “We recovered the bulk of the funds shortly after the incident and has been cooperating with law enforcement in its investigation.” Likewise Google said it had “detected this fraud against our vendor management team and promptly alerted the authorities. We recouped the funds and we’re pleased this matter is resolved.”
The case shows just how big an issue phishing and online fraud has become, with phishing attacks conning people and companies all over the world out of significant sums of money.
Where the age old Nigerian Prince scams still operate with bogus claims of money, techniques used by the thieves have become increasingly sophisticated. The National Audit Office warned in December that the UK was ill prepared for online fraud and that it cost UK consumers at least £14.8bn last year, of which £4.2bn is thought to be hidden and unreported losses from crime such as mass marketing fraud and counterfeit goods.
In January, accountants KPMG recorded the value of fraud committed in the UK last year reported to the court system to have exceeded £1.1bn – a 55% year-on-year rise highlighting a dramatic rise in cybercrime.
From costly conveyancing scams to fake IT support, it’s more important than ever to double-check anything asking for personal details or money. But when even Facebook and Google, who make technology that is meant to help protect against online scammers, get tricked, it paints a grim picture for your average user.
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