Waterloo Brewing loses $2.1 million in wire transfer scam
Published Thursday, November 21, 2019 8:03AM EST Last Updated Thursday, November 21, 2019 6:46PM EST
KITCHENER - Waterloo Brewing has lost $2.1 million to an impersonation scheme.
The incident, which the company has described as a “social engineering cyberattack,” happened earlier this month.
Someone claiming to be a creditor convinced Waterloo Brewing to send the money through wire transfers.
The scam wasn’t discovered until this week.
“This is a very common attack,” says Florian Kerschbaum, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo’s School of Computer Science. “It’s probably one of the most successful attacks because the damage is very, very high.”
The brewery then launched an investigation into their bank accounts and computers.
Waterloo Brewing doesn’t believe any of its systems were breached and says the personal information of its customers was not compromised.
Experts say schemes like these are hard to spot because they rely on human interactions.
“These attackers are very well informed,” says Kerschbaum. “They know who they need to impersonate, they know who they need to request it from.”
George Croft, Waterloo Brewing’s CEO, tells CTV News that the company may have more information on the incident in the coming days.
The company is now working with police, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, and the United States’ Finance Crimes and Enforcement Network to track down who’s behind the theft.
But that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to recover the lost money.
“Usually these people have intermediaries,” says Kerschbaum. “People who are not afraid of legal penalties and therefore they can send the money via means that are no longer traceable.”