The Hidden Dangers of Everyday Emails: BEC Attacks Explained

June 19, 2023

Have you ever found yourself responding to an email without giving its contents much thought? It could be a simple request for information or a payment reminder-an everyday occurrence. Yet, within moments of hitting that send button, you may unwittingly become a victim of a Business Email Compromise (BEC) attack.

What is a Business Email Compromise (BEC) attack?

BEC attacks involve cyber criminals gaining unauthorized access to your business email account and exploiting it to deceive your employees, customers, or partners into disclosing sensitive information or transferring funds. These criminals often assume the identity of a senior figure within your organization, taking advantage of the trust placed in them.

While you might assume that only large corporations fall prey to such attacks, that assumption is far from accurate. According to the FBI, small and medium-sized businesses are equally susceptible to BEC attacks, which have collectively cost organizations over $26 billion in recent years.

Unfortunately, the situation is worsening. Microsoft's recent findings reveal that BEC attacks are growing increasingly destructive and harder to detect.

What steps can you take to safeguard your business from such threats?

Here's our expert advice:

  1. Educate your employees: Your staff members are your initial line of defense against BEC attacks. They must be equipped with the knowledge to identify phishing emails, suspicious requests, and fake invoices. Regularly train them on cyber security best practices, including the importance of strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, and secure file sharing.
  2. Implement advanced email security solutions: Traditional email protections like basic antispam and antivirus software are no longer sufficient for thwarting BEC attacks. You require more sophisticated solutions that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect and prevent these attacks in real time proactively. Seek email security providers offering features such as domain-based message authentication, reporting, and conformance (DMARC), sender policy framework (SPF), and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM).
  3. Establish transaction verification procedures: Before initiating any fund transfers or sharing sensitive information, establish a verification process that verifies the authenticity of the request. This can involve a phone call, video conference, or face-to-face meeting. Relying solely on email for such confirmation is not advisable.
  4. Monitor your email traffic: Regularly monitor your email traffic for any anomalies or unusual patterns. Look for indicators like unfamiliar senders, unusual login locations, modifications to email settings or forwarding rules, and unexpected messages. Having a clear protocol in place for reporting and responding to any suspicious activity is crucial.
  5. Keep your software updated: Always ensure your operating system, email software, and other applications are running the latest versions. These updates often include vital security patches designed to address known vulnerabilities.

While the prevalence and sophistication of BEC attacks continue to rise, you can fortify your business with the right awareness, training, and security solutions.

Don't wait until it's too late-take action today to safeguard your business.

Our dedicated team can always assist you if you want further information on protecting your business from cyber threats. Reach out to us by giving us a call at 204-772-8822 or 1-833-847-0725


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