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05 December 2016

Phishing scammers pose as New York AG to target lawyers

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman has warned lawyers in the Big Apple that scammers are impersonating his office to trick attorneys into downloading malicious software.

By Kathryn Higgins

Hackers attacked unnamed U.S. law firm

The fraudulent email template released to the public by the (real) office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman tries to lure attorneys into clicking on an infected link by claiming that a complaint has been made against their firm or business that requires response. Though the office did not disclose what type of malicious software was being installed by the link when clicked, phishers generally try to gain access to a server in order to skim valuable personal information (such as credit card details or social security numbers) or to install ransomware (which encrypts a recipient’s files and demands payment to unlock them).

Hacking en masse  

Generally speaking, phishing scams are not hard to spot – generic greetings, suspicious sender addresses and the size of file attachments are all among the tell-tale signs. However, as a way of potentially securing extremely valuable data that is virtually costless for the scammers themselves, the technique persists. Dechert data security and privacy head told Bloomberg BigLaw Business: ‘The fact is that 99.9 per cent of the people who receive these recognise them as garbage, but if you send through enough of them you’ll find somebody to click on it.’ He added: ‘If you have a million or 50 million email addresses, even if you get one-tenth of one percent, that’s something.’

The email template released by Mr Schneiderman’s office was as follows:

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: The Office of The State Attorney <com.department@outlook.com>
Date: Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 10:37 AM
Subject: The Office of The State Attorney Complaint
To: Bar Member

Dear Bar Member:

A complaint has been filed against your Business.

Enclosed is a copy of the complaint which requires your response. You have 10 days to file a rebuttal if you so desire.

You may view the complaint at the link below.

complaint88947.pdf 

Rebuttals should not exceed 15 pages and may refer to any additional documents or exhibits that are available on request.

The Office of The State Attorney cannot render legal advice nor can The Office of The State Attorney represent individuals or intervene on their behalf in any civil or criminal matter.

Please review the enclosed complaint. If filing a rebuttal please do so during the specified time frame.

Sincerely,

The Office of The State Attorney

Sources: Bloomberg BOL; New York State Office of the Attorney General

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