Phishing for Carbon: Hackers Steal Millions in Emissions Certificates

Credit cards numbers? Please. Medical records? Booooring. The modern hacker knows that the real money's in carbon emission trade credits. No, seriously: a recent phishing expedition reaped over $4 million from carbon-emitting companies in Europe, Japan, and New Zealand.

The hackers sent emails to 2,000 companies in Germany alone, claiming to be from the German Emissions Trading Authority, which keeps track of carbon credits and transactions. The email requested that the companies re-register their accounts, and the information the duped employees provided was then used—you guessed it—to access the companies' GETA accounts and and clean them out.

It's unclear who the thieves sold the credits to, but the buyers are assumed to have thought they were making a legal transaction. And it's also possible to see how it would have taken some time to see that something was amiss: four million bucks is a lot of money, but it's a drop in the bucket of $130 billion of CO2 emissions that were traded in Europe last year.

So remember, kids: lock up your gasses. People will steal just about anything these days. [Der Spiegel via Wired]