Job hunters blackmailed in hack

Monster, the world's largest recruitment website, was left reeling this week when thousands of jobseekers were targeted in a sophisticated phishing blackmail scam.

American users who had registered with the site received e-mails last week inviting them to download a Job Seeker Tool from Monster. What they got was a Trojan horse virus that encrypted their files and a message from a group called Glamorous Team demanding a $300 ransom to decrypt their files.

Coverage in the UK newspaper, The Guardian, recounted the experiences of several people who were affected by the attack. One of the reasons it proved so effective was that it presented a plausible scenario from a site that would have been known and trusted by its users. What is almost as worrying as the blackmail technique is how the criminals were able to crack the Monster database to get hold of the users' e-mail addresses.

According to Symantec, which identified a Trojan virus called Infostealer.Monstres on August 16th, the attack started by accessing employer sections of and uploaded details on several hundred thousand people to the remote website.

The second part of the attack spammed the e-mails harvested with an executable file Trojan.Gpcoder.E, which was carried as an attachment with an icon designed to look like the logo.

When researchers from the UK security company Prevx reverse-engineered the encryption virus and used victims' details to log into the website where data was being held hostage, they were able to download personal information on several people and decrypt personal data such as system passwords and PayPal account details.

According to Prevx, the attack targeted users in America and appropriated data from around 1,000 PCs.

By John Stokdyk, for our sister site,

You may like these other stories...

Accountants who specialize in forensic and valuation services point to electronic data analysis, or big data, as the most pressing issue they’ll face in the coming months, according to results of a new survey released...
As complex as federal tax can get, at least you're only dealing with one agency: the IRS. But when you get into state and local sales tax, you're coordinating hundreds of jurisdictions that are constantly changing....
All that was needed on Tuesday was a voice vote for the House of Representatives to pass a bill that would prevent state and local governments from taxing access to the Internet.Now the ball is in the Senate’s court....

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 24
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.
Jul 31
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
Aug 5
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.