According to the FBI’s 2021 Internet Crime Report, Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams resulted in 19,954 complaints with an adjusted loss of nearly $2.4 billion. With attacks becoming more sophisticated and difficult to detect, it’s important for businesses to take this issue seriously and take steps to protect themselves. Ignoring the risks can lead to devastating consequences, including data breaches, financial loss, and reputational damage. It’s crucial for organizations to be proactive and educate themselves on the latest threats and defenses to ensure they are adequately protected.
What is Business Email Fraud?
Business email fraud is a type of cyber attack where cyber criminals impersonate senior executives or other trusted parties within an organization in order to trick employees into transferring funds or sensitive information. This type of attack typically starts with a phishing email that appears to be from a trusted source, such as a CEO or CFO, and may even use the company’s branding and language to make it appear legitimate.
One of the common types of business email fraud is gift card scams. Attackers send emails requesting gift card codes, claiming that they are for employees or clients as rewards or gifts. Once the attacker has the gift card codes, they can easily convert them into cash.
Who Are the Likely Targets
There are several groups of people who are commonly targeted by business email fraudsters:
High-ranking executives: Fraudsters often target executives with access to sensitive information or the authority to authorize financial transactions.
Accounting and finance personnel: Employees who work in accounting and finance departments are often targeted because they have access to financial information and again can authorize payments.
Human resources personnel: Fraudsters may target human resources personnel to obtain employee data, such as social security numbers, which can be used for identity theft.
Employees in general: Fraudsters may also target employees with access to company email accounts or other sensitive information, from there they can pivot to other accounts.
Customers and vendors: Fraudsters may impersonate customers or vendors in an attempt to obtain information or initiate fraudulent transactions.
How to Protect Your Organization from Business Email Fraud
Protecting your company from business email fraud requires a multi-layered approach that includes people, processes, and technology.
People: Employees are the first line of defense against business email fraud. Educate your employees about the risks of phishing attacks and how to spot them. Encourage them to verify the authenticity of any email that asks for sensitive information or money transfer. Implement a culture of security awareness and promote regular security training.
Process: Establish policies and procedures that reduce the risk of business email fraud. For example, require a secondary verification process for any money transfers, especially those requested via email. Ensure that employees verify the identity of the sender before responding to any email that contains sensitive information.
Technology: Deploy email security solutions that detect and block business email fraud. These solutions use machine learning algorithms to identify fraudulent emails and prevent them from reaching the recipient’s inbox. Consider implementing two-factor authentication to reduce the risk of account takeover.
Having a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Program
There are many benefits of having a comprehensive cybersecurity program:
Protects the organization’s critical assets and data: A mature cybersecurity program can help reduce the risk of a cyber attack and increase the organization’s resilience, ensuring that it can recover quickly from any incident.
Improves customer trust: It can help improve customer trust in the organization by demonstrating the company’s ability to protect customers’ information.
Complies with regulations: It can also help the organization comply with regulations and industry standards such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS.
Kobalt.io offers full stack cybersecurity services to help organizations protect themselves from cyber attacks. These services include assessments, security reviews, continuous security monitoring, and any advisory support you may need. If you want to learn more, book a time to chat with us.
Business email fraud is a serious and costly threat that all organizations should be aware of. By educating employees, implementing technical solutions, and working with cybersecurity experts, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to this type of attack. It’s important to stay vigilant and up to date on the latest cyber threats and take proactive measures to protect your organization’s assets and reputation.