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Aircraft Maker Loses €50 Million in Fraud Attack

Aerospace component manufacturer FACC admitted last week it was defrauded out of a massive €50 million, leading to its share price plummeting by double digit figures.

The Austrian firm, which counts Airbus and Boeing among its clients, said in a brief statement that the fraudulent activity involved “communication and information technologies” and targeted the “financial accounting department.”

It added:

“FACC's IT infrastructure, data security, IP rights as well as the operational business of the group are not affected by the criminal activities … The management board has taken immediate structural measures and is evaluating damages and insurance claims. All production- and engineering units operate in an unaffected and normal way.”

The firm was at pains to point out that there is no threat to its liquidity as a result of the massive fraud loss.

Its initial statement on the matter claimed that the attack had come from outside the company, although it has since omitted that detail from its reporting.

One possible explanation could be that external fraudsters launched a successful whaling attack.

This is when scammers email a senior member of the finance department in a targeted organization, usually pretending to be the CEO, in a bid to trick them into making a substantial wire transfer of funds to an external bank account in another country.

In February 2015, fraudsters made off with $17m after persuading a senior executive at commodities trader Scoular to wire funds to a Chinese bank.

Email security firm Mimecast last month claimed that over half of the 400 IT professionals it polled in the UK, US, South Africa and Australia had seen an increase in whaling attacks over the previous three months.

Passengers will be relieved to hear that no IP was stolen, given that FACC manufactures critical elements of aircraft fuselage and wings, engines and cabins. 

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