Ikea pursues email scam from cyber criminals

Ikea fears an aggressive spam campaign using its brand name could harm the furniture giant's reputation, as police warns the global phishing scandal has reached Sweden.

Ikea pursues email scam from cyber criminals
A Swedish Ikea store in Borlänge. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Hundreds of thousands of computer users worldwide are believed to have received emails in the past few days purporting to be from Ikea, generated by developers behind the infamous Dridex malware.

The harmful strain, which has only recently begun to target Ikea, first emerged late last year in a spam campaign that at first mainly targeted UK users, but later also spread across Europe and the rest of the world.

It is believed to be responsible for pumping £20 million (266 million kronor, $31 million) from UK banks in the past year along with $10 million from US accounts.

Ikea told The Local on Thursday that the company had been contacted by a number of customers who had received the most recent wave of suspicious emails, and was monitoring the global spread.

“We view it as very serious that people are being deceived and that someone is abusing our brand name to do that. We want people to be able to trust the Ikea brand (…) This affects us from a global perspective,” said Ikea press spokeswoman Daniela Rogosic.

“But we are investigating and monitoring the situation to find out who the source is,” she said and added that the furniture chain was keeping in close contact with police investigating the spam campaign.

READ ALSO: Zlatan is Sweden's most dangerous online celeb

The Dridex malware is activated when victims open the attachment in the email, which looks identical to a purchase receipt from the furniture company. Once the user's computer is infected with the harmful script, the attackers begin to download usernames, passwords, card details and other information about the victim.

“We urge our customers to report it to the police if they receive an email,” said Rogosic.

Her comments came after police also warned that the global phishing campaign was believed to have reached Sweden, although only a few cases were understood to have been reported by Thursday morning.

“It's incredible how many of these are in circulation and it's very difficult for us to get to them. The perpetrators can be based anywhere in the world,” Peter Adlersson, police press spokesman, told the Expressen tabloid.

“Don't click on the links and don't open any documents – and delete the email. If you have made a purchase from the company in question it's probably best that you contact them if you're not sure,” he added.