CYBER scammers are targeting the Townsville Chamber of Commerce with the organisation considering taking out insurance against attacks following a spate of email phishing incidents.
The chamber fell victim to the latest phishing attack on Wednesday, when an email claiming to be from the organisation was sent to a number of its members.
It comes after a similar incident three months ago, when emails claiming to be from the chamber were sent to local businesses requesting that an attached document be opened.
The chamber says its computer systems have not been breached but there are fears scammers with “a sense of local economies” are targeting Townsville businesses.
On Wednesday afternoon, the chamber was forced to send an email to members which read: “SCAM ALERT – we have been informed of local businesses receiving emails from Jeff Godron from Duratek Components pretending to represent the Townsville Chamber of Commerce. This person is not affiliated with the Townsville Chamber.”
Chief executive Marie-Claude Brown said while there had been no breach of the chamber’s computer systems, the attack was concerning.
“This is a point in the year where we are sending invoices to our members – it’s creating confusion,” she said. Ms Brown said a similar incident occurred about three months ago.
“Right now we are considering an insurance policy on cyber attacks and we’re assessing whether we need another layer of protection,” she said.
“The intensity of this (latest attack) was a lot larger.
“I don’t know if it’s a virus or trojan horse and I don’t know what their intents are.”
Conrad Law principal Ian Conrad, who received the latest spam email this week, said it was disconcerting.
“It seemed to be targeting me or the law firm and was trying to hack into my server,” he said. “We do have three levels of protection on the computers at work, touch wood we haven’t had any problems.”
Mr Conrad said when he received the email, he had first thought it was legitimate.
“Probably in the last month I would have seen eight or nine (phishing) emails, three or four claimed to be from Queensland,” he said.
“Somebody who has a sense of local economies is trying to fall under the guard of people and it seems to be specifically targeting industries.”
Townsville police District Superintendent Ray Rohweder said hacking and phishing were not uncommon in Townsville. “It could be someone local but they’re usually overseas,” he said.
“Dependent upon the circumstances they’re liable for up to 10 years imprisonment.
“We often get complaints from people in relation to these matters. We do have ways of investigating them but we generally find they’re committed by people overseas using very hard to track and quite advanced technology that makes these types of investigations quite complex.”