Thursday, 4 February 2010

Net fraudsters target carbon markets

By Fiona Harvey in London and James Wilson in Frankfurt
Published: February 3 2010 23:51
Hackers have targeted the international carbon markets, with a spate of attacks on the registries in which carbon credits are held.
The German registry reported on Wednesday that it had blocked a “phishing” attack, whereby fraudsters had sent e-mails to emissions trading companies asking for their details.
Under attack: hackers are broadening their scope

It is thought the computer fraudsters were attempting to use the details to steal carbon permits, such as those issued under the European Union’s emissions trading scheme, and carbon credits issued by the United Nations.
They would then have tried to sell the stolen electronic certificates to other carbon market participants.
A statement from the UN Framework on Climate Change raised the alarm about the breadth of the hacking.
The UN said it was aware of at least nine attempts at fraudulent transactions, but moved to reassure the carbon markets that its core carbon registry, which governs the buying and selling of credits issued under the Kyoto protocol, had been secured.
“Many national registries have already confirmed that they have taken appropriate security measures and that access to their system is now secured,” said the UN body. “The secretariat has also been informed that the software of national registries does not appear to have been compromised.”
The attacks, in which registries in several countries have been targeted over the past week, are believed to be the first to target the carbon markets in this way. “Phishing” attacks are common on other parts of the internet, for instance as a way of duping people into revealing bank details or other personal data that can be used to steal identities.
The UN said it was working with national governments to ensure the safety of their carbon registries.
The European Commission said that any attempts at fraudulent transactions under its emissions trading scheme could be traced.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010.