- Compromise in Business Email
We've all heard that malicious actors are actively using e-mail scams to defraud government agencies, small and large businesses, and their victims. Most corporate financial transactions are now digital, which has resulted in an increase in financial crime, primarily due to cyber fraud.
The term "Company Email Compromise" refers to a variety of malicious activities, but all types of BEC have one thing in common: they require access to or impersonation of a business email account.
What Exactly Is BEC?
Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a type of targeted scam in which an attacker impersonates a corporate executive or high-level employee in order to rob the company or its partners or obtain sensitive data. The goal of a BEC scam is to persuade the target to give the attacker money or sensitive information while they believe they are conducting a legitimate business transaction.
Attackers accomplish this by using various deception techniques to persuade users to hand over money or personal information.
How Does a BEC Scam Operate?
BEC fraud, like other social engineering schemes, relies on the human element to be successful.
This implies that in this situation, the fundamental human desire to be a social creature will be exploited.
Because of their natural desire to help and prove their worth, people are more likely to be victims of BEC assaults. The need to respond quickly to a request from your boss takes precedence over the need to double-check whether the request is correct in the first place.
Most BEC attacks consist of three primary steps:
BEC scams, also known as "man-in-the-email" attacks, start with extensive research, with the attacker scouring publicly available information about the organization, such as websites, press releases, and social media posts.
After spending time researching his targets, the attacker will devise a few scam scenarios that may be successful.
The attacker will either try to gain access to or spoof the email accounts of the company's most powerful people. You could become a victim by simply changing one digit or one letter in the domain name when creating an email address with a spoofed domain.
Depending on how thorough the opponent is, the BEC assault can occur in a single email or across an entire thread. To gain the victim's trust, this communication typically employs persuasion, urgency, and authority. The attacker will then instruct the victim to send money or provide sensitive information.
Types of BEC Attacks
- The Fake Invoice Scam
This type of scam frequently targets businesses that work with international suppliers. The attackers pose as suppliers, seeking money transfers to a fraudulent account.
- CEOs who commit fraud
After gathering the necessary information, the attackers will impersonate the company's CEO or another high-ranking official and send an email to finance personnel requesting money transfers to a bank account controlled by them.
- An Email Account Compromise (EAC)
A senior executive's or employee's email account is compromised and used to solicit invoice payments from suppliers listed in their email contacts. The funds are then transferred to bogus bank accounts.
Prevent Business Email Compromise
- Educate your employees
Access to adequate cyber-security training for employees is a critical step that a company must take to protect itself from BEC. Employees should be made aware of the risks and consequences of these attacks, as well as how to spot a scam and respond appropriately in the event of one.
BEC attacks are successful not because they are technologically advanced, but because they take advantage of human weaknesses such as a reaction to authority, scheduling, or even exhaustion.
Clear communication of responsibilities and objectives, as well as adequate guidance in the use of IT and accounting controls, can help to mitigate these risks. Cyber-security threats come in all shapes and sizes, so it's critical to detect, report, and respond to them correctly. Even though it may appear obvious, human error is to blame for 95 percent of successful cyber-attacks. Managers should keep in mind that hackers do not simply break into IT departments by brute force, they look for flaws. As a result, cyber-security skills and expertise are required for every position in the company. Making cyber security a shared responsibility is critical, so include management and IT in your education programme, hold monthly cyber security sessions, and, of course, set specific rules for email, internet surfing, social media, and mobile devices. While there is no foolproof method for protecting your company, educating your employees on security risks and best practices for online behaviour and privacy will significantly reduce the risk of a BEC scam.
- Encourage employees to object to any suspicious requests.
Because employees have a tendency to rush through activity or a reaction, teaching them to double-check before completing a task may reduce the risk of a cyber-attack. Consider an email from a company's senior executive in which a large sum of money is urgently demanded. Employees must understand that delaying payment is preferable to be scammed, and they must make every effort to ensure that the request they received is legitimate. Employees have a tendency to rush through activity or a reaction, so teaching them to double-check before finishing a task may reduce the risk of a cyber-attack.
BEC assaults, unfortunately, are here to stay due to their surface-level nature. To stay ahead of the growing threat of Business Email Compromise, organizations and employees must alter their mindsets, practices, and security solutions. If you have any doubts concerning the above issue, please contact us. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Your security partner will be Airzero Sec.
Author - Johnson Augustine
Ethical Hacker and Data Security Researcher
Founder: Airo Global Software Inc
LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/johnsontaugustine/