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The FBI is warning that its agents are investigating a growing number of spear phishing attacks on legal firms and public relations companies.

Criminals are turning to those two industries because of the large amount of highly confidential information on company networks, often with details of international negotiations.

Spear phishing is a term for malicious email that specifically targets a company or person in the company. Trojan horse programs, usually carrying rootkits, are emailed as attachments. The emails also could contain links to web sites that download malcode that makes data accessible. Victims who click on the attachments to open them or follow the links, trigger malware that gives intruders access to the company network.

The investigators believe that international organized crime is involved in the attacks and are suggesting that companies consider removing sensitive documents from storage accessible by the Internet.

New York Times story here.

Tom Kelchner