An Austrian aerospace parts manufacturer – FACC, has been the target of a cyberattack that resulted in cybercriminals making away with a staggering $55 million from the company’s coffers.
FACC has long been a manufacturer supplier of engine and interior parts for companies like Airbus and Boeing, making it a ripe target for cybercriminals who worked toward a big payday.
In a blog post, the company stated that its financial accounting department was the target of cyber fraud, after forensic and criminal investigations revealed the heist.
The manufacturer stated that while the “damage is an outflow of approx.. EUR 50 million in liquid funds,” the IT infrastructure, data security and crucially, the IP rights of the company’s products were not affected.
Speculation pegs the heist as a spear whaling attack that may have resulted in wire fraud. A whaling attack, unlike a common phishing attack, is when scammers target a senior member or executive of the finance department with a social engineering hack.
The feat is carried out when scammers pretend to be management, usually the CEO of the targeted company, in order to trick the finance executive to go through with a significant wire transfer of funds away from the company. Successful companies with a healthy cash-flow are targeted for such attacks.
This wouldn’t be the first time that an aviation-related company was successfully duped into wiring large funds to scammers either. In mid-2015, low-cost airline Ryanair was the victim of a whaling attack which saw over $5 million lost in damages after the money was wired to a scammer’s bank account in China.
The Irish airline uses US dollars to buy fuel for its planes and the money is likely to have been siphoned off during one of these routine transactions, The Irish Times revealed.
Meanwhile, FACC insisted that it is evaluating the overall scope of damages and is looking into insurance claims. The company also placated investors in noting that no economic threats concerning liquidity exist as a consequence of the large heist.
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