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Cybercrims Prepping New Round Of Payroll Heists, AFP Warns

Cyber criminals are in a position to raid the payrolls of Australian companies employing hundreds of thousands of workers between them, an Australian Federal Police officer has warned.

AFP cybercrime operations team leader Scott Mellis told this week’s Australian Cyber Security Centre Conference in Canberra that weak security in many Australian organisations is leaving them open to payroll raids.

He said the HR payroll systems of several major Australian companies had been hacked over the past year, with employees’ pay diverted to “cash mule” bank accounts.

Attacks on share trading platforms, superannuation funds and tax return fraud have also become more frequent and lucrative, Mellis said.

The AFP operative said the standard methodology used by the cybercrims is to use stolen credentials to log in to the HR payroll system, check the date of the next pay run and check in again on that date and alter payee account details to those of its mules.

Another form of attack under increasing use is CEO impersonation, where criminals send e-mails to employees purporting to be senior executives in their company and requesting payments. Mellis said the AFP had detected CEO impersonation crimes in Australia involving sums of up to $900,000 in the last financial year.

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