A succession of global phishing scams targeting publishers and agents has prompted responses from several global publishers, reports the Bookseller.
Penguin Random House (PRH) North America sent an urgent email to all staff on Wednesday, 10 October, reading: ‘We have recently seen an increase in attempts to steal our manuscripts. This has occurred in multiple locations across the globe. The individuals attempting to access these manuscripts have a sophisticated understanding of our business. We need to protect ourselves from these threats.’
Allegedly legitimate email addresses have also been used by cyber criminals seeking access to manuscripts at PRH UK and Pan Macmillan. The Bookseller cited the head of another global publisher, who remained unnamed but noted that ‘while there have long been scams attempting to access confidential information such as contracts, seeking access to manuscripts is a new development’.
London-based scouting agency Eccles Fisher was hit by a phishing scam last week, with the bug attempting to access manuscripts, authors’ details and other confidential material via email by pretending to be the company’s owner, Catherine Eccles.
Eccles said: ‘I’ve heard of this happening before, particularly around book fairs. Whoever is writing this has inside knowledge … this is from someone with knowledge of our industry and who we work with. It could be very damaging to our reputation. We want to stop it and encourage others to be vigilant.’