Our lives are increasingly digitized by the day, and the business world is no exception. While this has resulted in numerous benefits, such as increased efficiency, productivity, and cost savings, it is not without its drawbacks. As organizations are forced to rely on online communication, cybercriminals’ attack methods are becoming more sophisticated.  You’ve probably heard about high-profile cyberattacks in the news. You might believe that ransomware and phishing-related attacks are the most dangerous types of cyberattacks your organization could face. While these types of cyberattacks receive much media attention, one that is making a big splash in cyberattack trends is Business Email Compromise (BEC). Business Email Compromise is becoming so widespread that, just last year, according to Help Net Security, 71% of organizations have been subjected to BEC attacks in 2022. This article defines this new threat type, its impact on businesses, why it is so dangerous, and how to defend your business from such threats.

What is Business Email Compromise?

Business Email Compromise is a sophisticated email scam in which fraudsters prey on C-level executives of businesses in a bid to use them to defraud the company. Most BEC attacks involve gaining access to a business email account and using the hacked business email to send fraudulent emails to employees, executives, or important business partners to take advantage of the victim and steal large sums of money from the company. BEC attacks typically begin with a phishing email that appears to be from a reputable source, such as a bank or a partner company. It is usually received as a request for money or sensitive information, such as login credentials, in an employee’s email. The criminal will employ various techniques to make the email seem urgent and important, such as claiming a deadline or that the information is required for a critical project. Following the victim’s response to the email, the criminal will use the information to steal money or engage in other fraudulent activities. To further the deception, the criminal can impersonate the victim and send additional emails to others within the company. This can lead to fraudulent activity that is difficult to stop once it begins. Another way BEC attacks happen is by gaining access to a business that services a large corporation and sends invoices regularly for payment. Attackers access one employee’s email who works in a smaller company. They then send emails from that account requesting funds as usual. As it is a regular process, most employees do not bother to check for details such as slightly different account numbers and emails and facilitate the transfer. Attackers might be long gone before the error is even found out.

What Impact Does BEC Have on Your Business?

BEC has serious commercial implications. This attack type poses a significant financial risk to businesses and also increases the possibility of data theft. Most BEC attacks target suppliers, vendors, and contractors who request payments from businesses regularly for services rendered. The transfers are then wired to fraudulent bank accounts. Furthermore, your reputation and brand value may suffer if attackers obtain information about your company’s suppliers, customers, or partners. As a result, you may lose current and prospective customers. The attackers can also return for future attacks after seeing their first attack succeed.

Why Business Email Compromise Is Becoming So Dangerous

BEC attacks have become more dangerous in recent years due to several reasons:

  • BEC attacks are becoming more dangerous because they are difficult to detect. Unlike other types of cyberattacks, such as malware or ransomware, BEC attacks are difficult to identify. It is usually more subtle. This is major because it does not involve viruses or other malicious software. Instead, they use social engineering and deception to trick victims into handing over money or personal information. Businesses must increasingly be alert to any unusual or suspicious activity, even if it initially does not appear particularly concerning.
  • Attackers are employing more sophisticated techniques to dupe employees into disclosing sensitive information. They also employ more sophisticated malware and other tools to access networks and systems. Businesses need to be more aware than ever in protecting sensitive data.
  • Employees’ lack of awareness is also one of the reasons BEC attacks are becoming so dangerous. Many employees are unaware of the dangers of BEC attacks and how to detect fraudulent emails. Because of their lack of awareness, they may be vulnerable to these types of attacks. Employees need to get trained on how to recognize fraudulent emails and what to do if they receive one.
  • Attackers frequently target human behaviors BEC targets senior executives within a company who may have access to large sums of money or sensitive information. Once cybercriminals have easy access to company executives and employees’ personal information, they can use this information to create persuasive fraudulent emails that appear to be from a company’s senior executive.

Steps Companies Can Take To Defend Themselves From BEC Attacks

There are several steps businesses can take to protect themselves from BEC attacks, and they are listed below:

Employee Training

First and foremost, employees must be educated about the dangers of phishing emails and other types of cyberattacks. Employees should be trained to detect suspicious emails and confirm any money or information requests with the email sender. Getting BEC awareness across your organization is the foundation of a sustainable defense.

Implement better security checks and controls

Businesses should also implement robust security protocols such as two-factor authentication and data encryption to safeguard sensitive information. Furthermore, companies should establish clear policies for money transfers and require multiple levels of approval for large transactions.

Hire professionals

In addition, organizations should think about hiring a third-party provider to help them manage their cybersecurity needs. Monitoring and response, threat intelligence, and incident response are all services that a managed security service provider (MSSP) can provide. This can help businesses stay ahead of the latest threats and respond to attacks quickly and effectively.

Purchase cyber insurance as a backup

Finally, businesses should consider purchasing cyber insurance to protect themselves from financial losses caused by cyberattacks. Cyber insurance can cover losses caused by BEC attacks and other cyber threats.

Let Managed IT Asia Help You Increase Your Protection From BEC Attacks Today!

In today’s digital world, every organization requires strong email security to withstand the current sophisticated threats. Managed IT Asia provides advanced cyber threat solutions every business needs to safeguard its systems and data against today’s most dangerous threats. Contact us today to increase your business’ cybersecurity levels.

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