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Sophisticated Vishing Campaigns Take World by Storm

Mar 11, 2024 Dark Reading

One South Korean victim gave up $3 million to cybercriminals, thanks to convincing law-enforcement impersonation scams that combine both psychology and technology.

Voice phishing, or vishing, is having a moment right now, with numerous active campaigns across the world that are ensnaring even savvy victims who might seem likely to know better, defrauding them in some cases of millions of dollars.

South Korea is one of the global regions being hit hard by the attack vector; in fact, a scam in August 2022 caused the largest amount ever stolen in a single vishing case in the country. That occurred when a doctor sent 4.1 billion won, or $3 million, in cash, insurance, stocks, and cryptocurrencies to criminals, demonstrating just how much financial damage one vishing scam can inflict.

Sophisticated social engineering tactics of recent scams that are leading them to success include impersonating regional law-enforcement officials, giving them an authority that is highly convincing, according to Sojun Ryu, lead of the Threat Analysis Team at South Korean cybersecurity firm S2W Inc. Ryu is giving a session on the trend, “Voice Phishing Syndicates Unmasked: An In-Depth Investigation and Exposure,” at the upcoming Black Hat Asia 2024 conference in Singapore. Vishing campaigns in South Korea in particular take advantage of culture-specific aspects that allow even those who don’t seem like they would fall for such a scam to be victimized, he says…