Security researchers have uncovered a major new targeted attack seemingly originating from Nigeria and designed to steal official documents which can be used in follow up 419 scams against oil brokers.
Spain-based Panda Security claimed in a new report, Operation Oil Tanker: The Phantom Menace, that 10 companies had been hit by the campaign.
However, police can’t begin investigating because none of the firms affected are prepared to report the crime – preferring to keep quiet for fear of harming their corporate reputation.
Researchers at Panda managed to trace the attack back to a single actor operating from a suburb of Nigerian capital Lagos, by tracing the FTP connection used to send out the stolen data.
They believe that the motive behind the attacks is to grab official proof of product documents, used by vendors selling oil to prove the authenticity of their product to potential buyers.
Such documents can be used in 419 scams, where fraudsters pretending to be sellers try to persuade brokers to transfer large sums of money as an advance on the cost of buying oil which doesn’t exist.
The targeted attack campaign was first uncovered when an oil transportation company in the north-east of England took part in a pilot program to trial a new advanced endpoint security tool.
They picked up the presence of a suspicious PDF file which had been opened by a secretary at the company and which led to an attempt to steal her log-in credentials and send them to a remote computer.
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