What Is Business Email Compromise (BEC)?
Business Email Compromise (BEC) is an intelligent email scam that typically targets employees of companies who regularly send wire transfers to their partners.
Often referred to as Man-in-the-Email, Business Email Compromise, uses spoofed or compromised email accounts to trick email recipients into providing company information, sending money, or sharing company innovations and technology.
BEC is a social engineering technique that relies on winning the trust of the email recipient. The cybercriminals behind BEC know that most people don’t carefully scrutinize sender email addresses or notice slight discrepancies in URLs.
These techniques along with familiar, urgent, and strategic email wording, make it very difficult for company employees to quickly and easily recognize BEC threats.
Research and statistics collected by the IC3 between October 2013 and May 2018 underscore the serious nature of BEC:
The above statistics reinforce how prevalent and dangerous BEC attacks are to companies and the individuals who are tricked into giving up money, company information, and technology.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) division of the FBI recommends that company employees remain suspicious of email requests for secrecy or pressure to take action quickly.
Cyber security awareness training and continual education is key in reinforcing the importance of being cyber aware when it comes to emails and the inbox.
What Are The 5 Types Of BEC Scams?
How Does BEC Happen?
Because of the nature of the cyber fraud and crime, a BEC attack requires a strategic and thorough approach.
1. The cybercriminal spends time researching the target company. The criminal uses publicly available information such as press releases, LinkedIn profiles, website content, and social media posts to collect the names and titles of key personnel.
Some cybercriminals go so far as looking for travel plans, conference attendance details, company partners and investors, new product information and basic facts about the company.
2. Using this information, the cybercriminal then either hacks the company email system using a phishing technique or spoofs an email account of a key employee.
3. Once inside the company, the cybercriminal uses this email access and the information they’ve collected about the company to send targeted, familiar and urgent emails to employees who the criminal believes will respond accordingly.
4. Unsuspecting employees receive emails from the cybercriminal masquerading as a colleague, lawyer or company partner requesting a payment, fund transfer or confidential information.
5. Because the email address is familiar and the request is not out-of-the-ordinary, the innocent employee doesn’t think twice and does exactly as the cybercriminal requests. Typically, the employee believes they are acting in the best interest of the company by paying an overdue invoice or transferring funds to a new company partner.
It’s important to remember that BEC schemes rely on savvy social engineering techniques and the human element of trust.
Phishing simulations allow you to identify which employees are prone to BEC scams and phishing attacks, demonstrating to employees how easy it is for cyber security attacks like BEC to happen.
How To Prevent BEC Attacks
Use proven security awareness training and phishing simulation platforms to keep BEC and social engineering risks top-of-mind for employees. Create internal cyber security heroes who are committed to keeping your organization cyber secure.
Remind your security leaders and cyber security heroes to regularly monitor employee BEC and phishing awareness with phishing simulation tools. Take advantage of BEC microlearning modules to educate, train, and change behavior.
Provide ongoing communication and campaigns about cyber security, BEC and social engineering. This includes establishing strong password policies and reminding employees about the risks that can come in the format of emails, URLs and attachments.
Establish network access rules that limit the use of personal devices and the sharing of information outside of your corporate network.
Ensure that all applications, operating systems, network tools and internal software are up-to-date and secure. Install malware protection and anti-spam software.
WHAT IS PHISHING SIMULATION?
Phishing simulation is the best way to raise awareness of BEC risks and to identify which employees are at risk for BEC scams and phishing.
BEC relies on phishing techniques to gain access to the company email system and uses social engineering techniques to convince employees to act as requested.
Phishing simulation allows you to easily incorporate cyber security awareness training into your organization in an interactive and informative format.
People see first-hand how personalized trustworthy emails are used to steal personal and corporate information. Real-time BEC and phishing simulations are an accessible way for any organization to educate people and increase alertness levels to BEC schemes and techniques.
How Can Phishing Simulations Help Prevent BEC?
Phishing simulations allow you to reinforce to your employees how easy it is to be a victim of a BEC attack.
Using real-world examples and sophisticated phishing simulations, employees realize why it is important to verify email addresses and to confirm requests for funds or confidential information before acting.
Phishing simulations give your organization these top 10 benefits in the defense against BEC scams and other cyber security threats:
1. Measure the degrees of corporate and employee vulnerability
2. Eliminate the cyber threat risk level
3. Increase user alertness to BEC and phishing risk
4. Instill a cyber security culture and create cyber security heroes
5. Change behavior to eliminate the automatic trust response
6. Deploy targeted anti-phishing solutions
7. Protect valuable corporate and personal data
8. Meet industry compliance obligations
9. Assess the impacts of cyber security awareness training
10. Segment BEC and phishing simulation
Learn More About BEC
To learn more about BEC and how you can keep your organization cyber secure, take advantage of these free cyber security awareness resources:
Contact us at 1-866-889-5806 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about BEC.
Terranova Security is committed to delivering people-centric training that makes your organization cyber security aware.