“Wire-Wire” Attacks And Drift Netting

Dane Meah
September 22, 2016


A recent article in the Wall Street Journal pointed to a range of new email fraud techniques called Wire Wire – apparently the work of those same Nigerians who used to offer you the chance to share in The Crown Prince’s inheritance if only you give them your banking details.

This time around they are breaking into your email accounts and changing bank account details in order to redirect funds meant for legitimate suppliers.

Wire Wire attacks are more sophisticated – and harder to detect and prevent – than spoofing or CEO wire transfer scams.

Wire Wire works by breaking into web-based mail accounts and secretly changing the settings to re-route emails from buyers to the scammers. It’s then a matter of intercepting a seller’s invoice and changing the details.

Wire Wire is similar to another dangerous form of phishing recently dubbed “Drift Netting” by the Australian Federal Police, according to IT News.

Drift Netting often targets HR or payroll systems, with cyber criminals waiting for the natural processes to run, amending a few account details and then making off with the cash via mule accounts. Such attacks usually involve purchasing legitimate credentials online and using them to impersonate a staff member.

The bad guys are clever – often making small initial changes to the system to test vulnerability before logging in to the employee’s account the day before payday and altering the relevant payee bank account details.

By the time the aggrieved employee complains about not being paid, it’s way too late.

Drift Netting can also happen when criminals use stolen credit card details to log into invoicing software and alter payee account details. It can sometimes take months for such attacks to be detected.

For information about the best ways to combat Wire Wire, Drift Netting and other email fraud attacks, refer to a recent piece I published, Seven ways to block and mitigate CEO email scams, which outlines the people, process and technical things you need to have in place to best combat email fraud attacks.

Our team can perform an audit to help understand the gaps that could exist in your security architecture.

Good luck and don’t hesitate to reach out for one-on-one consultation with our team for further assistance.