Security firm G4S has fallen victim to a hoax that caused an unexpected fall in its share price. According to the Daily Telegraph, G4S shares fell 2.6 pence after a ‘fraudulent statement was emailed to journalists suggesting that the FTSE 100 company had discovered errors in its accounts and that they would be restated’. The bogus press release also said that the company’s finance director, Himanshu Raja, had been fired and that the group general legal counsel, Soren Lundsberg-Nielsen, had resigned.
The hoax statement linked to a website replicating G4S’s own site, which was registered by two Dutch men in Texas a fortnight ago at an estimated cost of £12. According to SCMagazine, a group of hacktivists calling for ‘No nation, no border, fight law and order’ claimed responsibility. It’s not clear whether they were short sellers hoping to profit from a fall in the company’s share price.
G4S later issued a statement:
“We have been made aware of a fraudulent web site and press release purporting to be from G4S plc which has been released to members of the media this afternoon. The website and the announcement contain wholly inaccurate information. Please note that all official statements by the company are made via a Regulatory Information Service and are available on this web site. Any statements made through other means should be treated with caution and may well be fraudulent.”
Speaking to SCMagazine, security expert Sarb Semnhi said, “Corporates clearly need to be aware of this type of attack and take steps to ensure they do not fall victim. There is clearly a need for effective threat modelling to tackle this problem.”