Phish Eats Shark

February 28, 2020

Sometimes the phish eats the shark.  That is certainly the case for Barbara Corcoran, one of the celebrity investors on the hit TV show “Shark Tank”.  Like all too many businesses these days, Corcoran’s was victimized by a phishing email that ended up costing her $388,000.

The story follows a familiar pattern.  Corcoran’s “assistant” emailed the company’s bookkeeper asking her to pay an invoice to a German company called FFH Concept.  The bookkeeper responded with a few questions and then wired the money.  Of course, Corcoran’s “assistant” was actually a fraudster and the money was wired to an account in Asia where it promptly disappeared.

This scam is hardly an isolated event.  According to the security company Kaspersky, over 57% of global email traffic is spam and in a single quarter in 2019, Kapersky’s technology stopped 44 million malicious email attachments.  95% of attacks on business networks start with spear phishing—focused and targeted attacks aimed at deceiving a specific person.  And the average cost of the attacks has grown to $1.6 million.

The shame of it is there are a lot of ways to detect the attacks.  Always closely check the email address of the sender.  In this case, the letter “o” was left out to create a different address.  Don’t click links in emails.  And ALWAYS call any person who is asking for a wire.  A quick call to Corcoran’s assistant prior to sending the wire would have avoided this scam.