Business email compromise (BEC) attacks have become a major concern for organizations in recent years. BEC is a type of cybercrime where fraudsters use social engineering tactics to compromise email accounts and impersonate authorized personnel to defraud businesses of their money or sensitive information.
This type of attack is particularly prevalent in professional services industries, such as law firms, accounting firms, CPAs, bookkeepers, investment firms, and property management companies.
BEC attacks can cause significant financial losses, reputational damage, and legal liabilities. Therefore, it's essential for businesses to be aware of the ways to combat BEC attacks and safeguard their assets and clients' data. In this article, we'll explore some effective strategies to mitigate the risk of BEC attacks.
To combat BEC attacks, it's crucial to understand the different types of BEC attacks that cybercriminals use. The most common types of BEC attacks include:
This type of attack involves the use of a fraudulent email address that mimics a legitimate sender's email address to deceive the recipient into believing that the email is genuine.
Phishing involves the use of a fake email or website to trick the recipient into providing sensitive information, such as login credentials, credit card details, or personal data.
This type of attack includes stolen credentials or social engineering tactics to gain unauthorized access to a legitimate email account and send fraudulent emails.
To combat BEC attacks, businesses must strengthen their email security measures. Here are some effective ways to do so:
Another effective strategy to combat BEC attacks is to train employees on BEC awareness. Employees tend to be the weakest link in the security chain, as they may inadvertently fall prey to social engineering tactics used by cybercriminals.
As a result, it's crucial to train your employees on how to identify suspicious emails, report security concerns, verify the authenticity of senders, and handle sensitive information securely. BEC awareness training should be an ongoing process, and employees should be regularly reminded of the latest BEC trends and tactics.
To mitigate the financial risks of BEC attacks, businesses must implement appropriate financial controls. Here are some essential financial controls that can prevent BEC attacks:
Regular security assessments can help businesses identify vulnerabilities in their systems and processes and take appropriate measures to mitigate those risks. Security assessments can include vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and social engineering testing. By conducting regular security assessments, businesses can proactively identify and address security gaps before cybercriminals can exploit them.
Keeping software and systems up to date is an essential aspect of cybersecurity. Cybercriminals often exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated software and systems to launch their attacks. Therefore, it’s important for businesses to keep their software and systems patched and updated with the latest security updates and fixes.
Despite all the preventive measures, a BEC attack may still occur, so it's crucial for businesses to have a well-defined cybersecurity incident response plan (IRP) to minimize the damage and recover from the attack quickly. A cybersecurity IRP should include steps for identifying and containing the attack, notifying the relevant stakeholders, preserving evidence, and restoring the systems and data.
BEC attacks are a serious threat to businesses, especially in the professional services industries, where the stakes are high. Businesses must take proactive measures to combat BEC attacks and safeguard their assets and clients' data.
By understanding the types of BEC attacks, strengthening email security measures, training employees on BEC awareness, implementing financial controls, conducting regular security assessments, keeping software and systems up-to-date, and having a cybersecurity incident response plan, businesses can significantly reduce the risk of BEC attacks. Remember, preventing a BEC attack is always better than dealing with the consequences.
If you're interested in improving your organization's cybersecurity posture and protecting your assets and clients' data from BEC attacks, contact Digital Crisis today for a consultation. Our team of cybersecurity experts can help you assess your vulnerabilities and develop a customized cybersecurity strategy to mitigate those risks.