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Mirae Asset Daewoo loses $5m in email scam

Mirae Asset Daewoo headquarters in central Seoul (Mirae Asset Daewoo)
Mirae Asset Daewoo headquarters in central Seoul (Mirae Asset Daewoo)

Korean brokerage firm Mirae Asset Daewoo said Friday that its Hong Kong branch has suffered a loss of $5 million in a recent email fraud scam.

The firm’s Hong Kong branch concluded an underwriting agreement to take over airplanes from an aircraft leasing company last year and made another contract to sublease the aircrafts to a carrier in Asia. But it was targeted in a “spear-phishing” attack while paying the balance, the brokerage said.

Spear-phishing is an email scam targeted at specific individuals or groups within an organization that appears to be from a trusted source. It aims to infect devices with malware or convince victims to hand over certain information or money.

An employee at the branch received the scam email in early March requesting to pay the balance of $5 million with attached bank account information. Since the email sender and its format matched previous emails, the employee transferred the amount without misgivings.

The brokerage later noticed that the email was fraudulent, according to a Mirae Asset official.

“We requested a police investigation in Hong Kong and it is underway. For now, we’re awaiting the investigation result,” an official at Mirae Asset Daewoo said.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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