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Phishing scam hits carbon permits
Category : General 06 Feb 2010 11:44 AM | Industry News
The latest setback for carbon trading has come from cyberspace.
Fraudsters used faked e-mail messages to obtain access codes for individual accounts on national registries that are part of the European Emission Trading System, then carried out a number of transactions before they were discovered, according to a number of European authorities.
In the case of Germany, seven of about 2,000 users who received the fake e-mail messages gave the hackers access to their accounts. About 250,000 allowances, with a value of about 12 euros each — about $16 — were improperly transferred on Jan. 28, according to Hans-Juergen Nantke, a spokesman for the German Emissions Trading Authority.
The fraudsters used "a malicious Web site" and asked respondents to "disclose their user identification code and password" – a practice known as phishing in the jargon of the Internet – according to the European Commission, which oversees the system.
A "fake Web site appeared genuine by using the Commission’s visual identity," the commission said in a statement, adding that it had been alerted by authorities in the Netherlands and Norway. "The Commission also started immediate investigations of the fake Web site and is working on closing it definitively," it said.
The attack came as the commission prepares to expand the system to cover the aviation sector in 2012. All airlines landing in the European Union or taking off from the trade bloc — including American carriers — will need to hold a certain quantity of credits. Those credits are likely to be accessible through some of the same national registries that were part of the cyberattack.
The commission insisted that the security of the Community Registry and the Community Independent Transaction Log — the central data banks that hold records of all credits, trades and transactions — had "not been compromised."
But to counter a recurrence of such an attack, the commission said it had "proposed a number of elements aimed at achieving high-security standards in its legislation to prepare for the inclusion of the aviation sector."
It also said that it had proposed an action plan in case of future such incidents.
Fraudsters also have added the E.U.'s value added tax to the price of carbon permits sold to businesses, then disappeared before turning the tax over to the government — although authorities across Europe say they have plugged that loophole.
TAGS : carbon, phishing, scam,