Fortinet reports increase in Zeus/money mule risks

by CXOtoday Staff    Oct 29, 2010

cyber crimeFortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT), a network security and a unified threat management (UTM) solutions provider, recently announced its October 2010 Threat Landscape report. The report warns of increased Zeus activity and the related risks money mules take when signing up for questionable job opportunities.

“As outlined in our ‘2010 Threat Predictions Realized’ report, money mules have been aggressively recruited this year to help cyber criminals launder money,” remarked Derek Manky, project manager, cyber security and threat research, Fortinet.

“A recent example of this is the worldwide prosecutions of a Zeus criminal operation, which included 37 charges brought against alleged money mules,” Manky further added.

The company stated that, FortiGuard Labs compiled threat statistics and trends for October based on data collected from FortiGate network security appliances and intelligence systems in production worldwide.

Recent Zeus stories illustrate mules today are typically recruited into criminal organizations through legitimate-looking advertisements. A suspect ad may suggest a client is looking for a “payment processing agent,” “money transfer agent,” or something as general and vague as an “administrative representative.” One of the most recent money mule recruitment emails FortiGuard flagged this month began the subject line with, “Re: CV.” The body of the email offered the recipient an “administrative representative” position for a proposed salary of €5,000 per month plus commission.

“The majority of opportunities we’re seeing today offer prospects roughly 10 percent commission for any transfers they make,” Manky continued.

The company suggests being wary of any job opportunities that promise great rewards for little or no work or work experience, or sounds vague. Also any point of contact should not be forwarded to such mails. Security services such as anti-spam and web content filtering can should be implemented to minimize money mule recruitment attempts.