Business email compromise be aware of the risks, not a victim

5 min read

Business email compromise is a threat. Email has recently become an integral part of our daily lives, serving various purposes, including business transactions. However, as our dependence on digital technology increases, so does the prevalence of cybercrime. One significant cyber threat that businesses need to pay close attention to is Business Email Compromise (BEC).

BEC attacks have been on the rise, with an 81% increase in 2022, and a concerning statistic reveals that up to 98% of employees fail to report these threats. This highlights the importance of understanding and addressing BEC attacks effectively.

Understanding Business Email Compromise (BEC)

Business Email Compromise is a type of scam that uses email fraud to target individuals and businesses, particularly those involved in wire transfer payments. Scammers often impersonate high-level executives or trusted business partners. They send emails to employees, customers, or vendors, requesting them to make payments or transfer funds. Attacks rose by 81% in 2022.

According to the FBI, BEC scams cost businesses approximately $1.8 billion in 2020, a number that escalated to $2.4 billion in 2021. These scams can inflict significant financial damage on businesses and individuals while also causing harm to their reputations, so you need to mitigate this cost.

How Does BEC Work?

BEC attacks are typically well-crafted and sophisticated, making them challenging to detect. Attackers begin by researching their target organisation and its employees. They gather information about the company’s operations, suppliers, customers, and business partners. This information is often available online on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, or the organisation’s websites.

Armed with sufficient knowledge, scammers craft convincing emails that appear to originate from high-level executives or trusted business contacts. These emails urge the recipient to make urgent and confidential payments or fund transfers. They often employ social engineering tactics or create fake websites that mimic the company’s official site, enhancing the email’s legitimacy.

If the recipient falls for the scam and proceeds with the payment, the attacker absconds with the funds, leaving the victim with significant financial losses.

Customer Relationship Management
Train Employees to avoid Business Email Compromise

Protecting Against Business Email Compromise

Preventing BEC scams can be challenging, but there are measures that businesses and individuals can take to mitigate the risk of falling victim to these attacks.

Educate Employees

Organisations should prioritise educating their employees about the risks associated with BEC. This includes providing training on identifying and avoiding such scams. Employees should be aware of common tactics that scammers employ, such as urgent requests, social engineering techniques, and fake websites. Training should also cover email account security best practices, including regularly checking the sent folder for suspicious messages, using strong and regularly changed email passwords, securely storing passwords, and promptly reporting suspected phishing emails to the IT department.

Implement Email Authentication

Organisations should implement email authentication protocols such as Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC), Sender Policy Framework (SPF), and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). These protocols help verify the authenticity of sender email addresses, reducing the risk of email spoofing and increasing the likelihood of legitimate emails reaching recipients’ inboxes.

Deploy Payment Verification Processes

Organisations should deploy payment verification processes such as two-factor authentication and require confirmations from multiple parties for all bank transfer requests. This ensures that financial transactions are legitimate and that multiple individuals are involved in verifying payment requests.

Regularly Review Financial Transactions

Regularly reviewing financial transactions can help detect suspicious activity or unauthorised transfers. Implementing procedures that require multiple parties to review and authorise payments adds an extra layer of security.

Establish an Incident Response Plan

Having a well-defined incident response plan is crucial for effectively addressing BE

C incidents. The plan should outline procedures for reporting the incident, freezing transfers, and promptly notifying law enforcement authorities.

Utilise Anti-phishing Software

Businesses and individuals can leverage anti-phishing software to detect and block fraudulent emails. With AI and machine learning advancements, these tools have become more effective in identifying phishing attempts. Staying vigilant and utilising such software can significantly enhance email security.

Require Assistance with Email Security Solutions?

Don’t leave your business emails vulnerable to attacks. We offer comprehensive email security solutions to safeguard your valuable assets. Contact us today to discuss how our services can protect your business from BEC and other email-based threats.

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