Google and Facebook scammed out of €92m
Major tech companies admit they were the victims of a phishing attack
Google’s Dublin offices on Barrow Street. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
Google and Facebook were phished for more than $100 million (about €92 million), it has been reported, in a case which proves that not even the biggest technology companies in the world are immune from the increasingly sophisticated attacks of online scammers.
Last month, it was reported that two major tech companies were tricked by a Lithuanian man into sending him more than $100 million.
The man, Evaldas Rimasauskas (48), was charged with wire fraud, money-laundering and aggravated identity theft for impersonating Quanta Computer - a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer that includes Google, Facebook and Apple as clients.
Now an investigation by Fortune has shown that the two firms Rimasauskas reportedly sent fraudulent invoices to were Facebook and Google, who paid out more than $100 million.
Facebook said in a statement: “We recovered the bulk of the funds shortly after the incident and have been co-operating with law enforcement in its investigation.”
Likewise, Google said it had “detected this fraud against our vendor management team and promptly alerted the authorities.
“We recouped the funds and we’re pleased this matter is resolved.”
The case shows just how big an issue phishing and online fraud has become, with phishing attacks conning people and companies across the world out of significant sums of money.
While the age-old Nigerian prince scams still operate by offering bogus sums of money, techniques used by thieves have become increasingly sophisticated.
The UK’s National Audit Office warned in December that online fraud cost UK consumers at least £14.8 billion (about €17.5 billion) last year.
From costly conveyancing scams to fake IT support, it’s more important than ever to double-check anything that asks for personal details or money.
But when not even Facebook and Google get tricked, it paints a grim picture for your average user.