Hackers Steal CO2-emission Permits Worth $4bn

Emissions trading registries in a number of EU countries were shut down this week as a result of a phishing scam, tricking traders into giving away their emissions allowances. A handful of firms fell for the trap and ended up giving away their CO2 emissions allowances to the crooks, who will now be able to sell the permits worth a total of USD 4 billions.

“This happens to banks, Visa, Mastercard about once or twice a month. And this is the same sort of thing. It’s not something intrinsic to the ETS. This could happen to anyone.”

Barbara Helfferich


The European Commission told EUobserver that illegal transactions so far had only been reported in Germany and the Czech Republic. Brussels says that the registries will re-open once they have taken the appropriate measures to deal with the scam, including warning users and resetting passwords.


Although emissions trading was still able to continue via the European Emissions Exchange, registries in nine member states – Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria Germany – closed to prevent any further losses, according to reports in the German press. Other national registries, notably those in Austria, the Netherlands and Norway, were quicker to react and while registration was suspended in these countries as well, they reopened on Tuesday.

The European Commission told EUobserver that illegal transactions so far had only been reported in Germany and the Czech Republic. Brussels says that the registries will re-open once they have taken the appropriate measures to deal with the scam, including warning users and resetting passwords.

Similar to online banking scams in which an email directs you to a website that is a copy of your own bank’s webpage, and then asks for your bank details, these criminals reproduced the sites of the German and Czech registries. The criminals sent emails last Thursday to firms in Europe, Japan and New Zealand, asking them to offer up their registration details.

A handful of firms fell for the trap and ended up giving away their CO2 emissions allowances to the crooks, who will now be able to sell them on. Financial Times Deutschland on Wednesday reported that one firm had lost €1.5 million as a result.

The European Commission, like any bank or online shop facing the same situation, is caught between the need to get out the word to firms to prevent them falling for the trap and undermining confidence in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) by publichising the fact.

“We have to be careful not to blow this out of proportion,” EU environment spokeswoman Barbara Helfferich told EUobserver. “This happens to banks, Visa, Mastercard about once or twice a month. And this is the same sort of thing. I receive these emails all the time. I just delete them.”

“It’s not something intrinsic to the ETS. This could happen to anyone.”

Well, the good news must be that emission trading finally seem to be taken seriously.

Link to original article.


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Filed under International Econnomic Politics, National Economic Politics

3 responses to “Hackers Steal CO2-emission Permits Worth $4bn

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