Email, commonly known as electronic mail, has become an indispensable component of modern life. People use it for many different purposes including business transactions. Unfortunately, cybercrime has increased exponentially thanks to our increased reliance on digital technologies; one significant cyber threat facing businesses today is Business Email Compromise.
Why should we pay special attention to BEC attacks? They're on the rise: in 2022 alone they increased 81% while 98% of employees did not report this threat.
What Is Business Email Compromise (BEC)?
Its Business Email Compromise is an email-based scam in which criminals target their victims using email fraud. Both businesses and individuals can fall prey to it; criminals typically target individuals making wire transfers as targets of BEC scammers.
Scammers frequently pose as senior executives or business partners in an email to employees, vendors, and customers; asking them to pay or transfer funds via some method.
According to the FBI, Business Email Compromise scams will cost businesses $1.8 billion by 2020 and $2.4 billion by 2021. These schemes can cause serious financial harm both to individuals and businesses as well as significantly damage their reputations.
What Is BEC?
BEC attacks can be difficult to spot as their methods of execution can be well-crafted. First, an attacker conducts extensive research on and interviews employees of an organization before gathering intelligence about its suppliers, customers, and business partners.
Scammers find many of these details easily available online; scammers commonly utilize websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Once an attacker possesses enough details about an individual or organization they can create a convincing email that looks as though it came from them or their business partner.
Email will allow you to ask recipients to pay or transfer funds immediately and confidentially, such as when you request payment from vendors or pay foreign taxes.
Emails often contain an urgent tone that forces recipients to act immediately. Attackers may employ social engineering techniques in these emails - for instance posing as trusted sources or creating fake sites which look identical to companies' official sites; such techniques make an email appear more authentic.
Those falling for scams and paying, could lose significant sums to these perpetrators who can then leave financial havoc behind them.
How to Prevent Business Email Fraud
BEC scams can be difficult to detect and avoid, yet businesses and individuals alike can reduce the likelihood of becoming victims by taking certain precautions.
Organizations should educate employees on the risks posed by Business Email Compromise. Training on how to avoid and identify these scams is also important; scammers should also be made aware of their tactics such as urgent requests, social engineering schemes and fake websites.
Training should include email account security.
- Make a habit of regularly reviewing their sent folder for suspicious messages.
- Be sure to choose a password of at least 12 characters long.
- Change your password regularly for email.
- Keep your password for email secure
- Report any suspicious emails immediately when they suspect them of Phishing activity
Organizations must implement email authentication protocols in order to safeguard their emails.
- Domain-Based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC).
- Sender Policy Framework (SPF).
- DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM).
These protocols verify the email address of the sender. Furthermore, these procedures reduce chances of email spoofing while helping prevent your messages from ending up in junk mail folders.
Organisations should implement payment verification processes such as two-factor authenticating or multiple party confirmation
To ensure all wire transfers are valid. Always have multiple people review any financial payment request.
Companies should implement payment verification processes such as two-factor authenticating
Another protocol should include verifying from multiple parties in order to ensure all wire transfers are legitimate and all financial payment requests can be verified with ease by multiple people.
Organisations should develop a Response Plan Organisations must create an action plan for BEC
Incidents that includes procedures for reporting them; these could include freezing the transfer, informing law enforcement and freezing it again if applicable.
Anti-phishing software can be an invaluable asset to both businesses and individual
Helping to identify fraudulent emails quickly and block them outright. As AI and machine-learning become more widespread, these tools will only become more powerful.
AI-powered phishing technologies continue to proliferate. Companies should remain alert and take steps to safeguard themselves.
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