27 Sep 2013

Companies urged to step up cyber vigilence

7:59 pm on 27 September 2013

New Zealand companies are being warned to be on the alert against cyber criminals after a retail chain was targeted in a phishing attack which went a step further than any seen here previously.

Independent cyber safety organisation NetSafe says the attack could have caused the company serious damage.

NetSafe cyber security programme manager Chris Hails says staff at an one store were fooled into installing rogue software on the chain's computer network.

"It turned out that somebody had actually called them impersonating a well-known member of staff and encouraged them to visit a fake website that was designed in the company's colours," Mr Hails said.

"So they clicked the download button and put the piece of malware on to the computer, so it was quite a well-planned attack, really."

Mr Hails says he's concerned by the effort that went into creating the well-made fake website and the use of a real executive's name.

The firm's IT staff detected the malicious programme in time but it shows the need for businesses to train staff to recognise phishing attacks when they occur, he says.

The website was registered to a Nigerian address through an Indian company and based in Switzerland.