SEC investigates cyber-related frauds | Norman Marks on Governance, Risk Management, and Audit

On October 16th, the US Securities and Exchange Commission published Report of Investigation Pursuant to Section 21(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Regarding Certain Cyber-Related Frauds Perpetrated Against Public Companies and Related Internal Accounting Controls Requirements.

This is an important report that risk and audit professionals should read and consider. They should also consider bringing it to the attention of the board and its audit committee.

The SEC investigated cyber-related frauds against “nine issuers that were victims of one of two variants of schemes involving spoofed or compromised electronic communications from persons purporting to be company executives or vendors”.

They said that:

“Each of the nine issuers lost at least $1 million; two lost more than $30 million. In total, the nine issuers lost nearly $100 million to the perpetrators, almost all of which was never recovered. Some of the investigated issuers were victims of protracted schemes that were only uncovered as a result of third-party actions, such as through detection by a foreign bank or law enforcement agency. Indeed, one company made 14 wire payments requested by the fake executive over the course of several weeks—resulting in over $45 million in losses—before the fraud was uncovered by an alert from a…

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