Former MasterChef contestant falls victim to online fraud attack

By Cameron Abbott and Keely O’Dowd

Last week, reports in the media revealed former MasterChef contestant, Dani Venn was the unfortunate victim of a conveyancing hacker attack.

Hackers were able to steal $250,000 from the sale of Ms Venn’s property by diverting the settlement funds into a fraudulent bank account set up by the hackers. Reports revealed the hackers gained unauthorised access to Ms Venn’s conveyancer’s email account, accessed emails from PEXA (a new e-conveyancing platform) and added themselves in the PEXA systems as a user. It was reported the hackers were then able to intercept emails from PEXA that notified the conveyancer another account had been added, leaving the conveyancers vulnerable and without any knowledge of the hacker’s new account. The hackers then switched Ms Venn’s bank details with their own account where the settlement funds were deposited.

Sophisticated hacking attacks target fund transfer frauds in a number of guises. Not surprisingly the larger the transaction value the more interest they are to hackers. Unfortunately the weakest link are often the users. The platform’s inherent security features cannot protect against users whose systems have been thoroughly compromised.

It leaves the humble Chef having to ask how secure are each of her service providers’ systems?

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