Don’t Let Your Emails Become a Cybercriminal’s Payday

Don’t Let Your Emails Become a Cybercriminal’s Payday

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a sophisticated scam targeting businesses and organizations to trick employees into transferring funds or sensitive data to fraudsters.

This attack relies on social engineering techniques to exploit human vulnerabilities rather than technical system vulnerabilities.

BEC attacks typically begin with the attacker compromising or spoofing an email account belonging to a high-level executive or trusted vendor. The attacker then uses this compromised account to send carefully crafted emails to employees responsible for wire transfers or payments.

BEC is an increasing threat due to the potential for substantial financial losses and the relative ease with which these attacks can be executed.

The Growing Threat of BEC Attacks

BEC attacks have emerged as one of the most financially damaging cyber threats facing organizations today.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reported that BEC incidents caused over $1.8 billion in losses in 2020 alone.

This figure represents a staggering 5% increase from the previous year, underscoring the rapidly escalating nature of this threat.

With the widespread adoption of remote work, employees have become more reliant on email communication, increasing the potential attack surface for cybercriminals.

Real-World BEC Incidents

Ubiquiti Networks: In 2021, the tech company Ubiquiti Networks fell victim to a $46.7 million BEC attack. Cybercriminals compromised and impersonated an employee’s email account, tricking the company into transferring funds to an account controlled by the attackers.

Snapchat: In 2016, the popular social media platform Snapchat disclosed that it had been targeted by a BEC scam, resulting in a loss of $7.7 million. The attackers compromised the email account of the company’s former chief financial officer and used it to initiate fraudulent wire transfers.

These case studies demonstrate the significant financial and reputational consequences that BEC attacks can have on organizations of all sizes and across various industries.

Securing Email Accounts to Prevent BEC

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all email accounts and add an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of authentication.

Email Filtering and Threat Protection

Deploy email filtering and threat protection solutions to detect and block malicious emails, phishing attempts, and other potential BEC threats. These solutions often employ advanced techniques like machine learning.

User Awareness and Training

Educate employees and conduct regular security awareness training sessions to teach users how to identify suspicious emails, verify requests for sensitive information or financial transactions, and report any suspicious activities.

Email Encryption

Consider implementing email encryption solutions to protect sensitive information in transit. This can help prevent unauthorized access to confidential data, even if emails are intercepted or compromised.

By implementing a multi-layered strategy combining technical controls, robust processes, and ongoing training, organizations can significantly reduce their risk of falling victim to costly and disruptive BEC attacks.

If you’re unsure about your current defenses, contact us to assess your security and answer your questions: [email protected]

Stay relentless!