A recent survey of IT security professionals, conducted by TitanHQ along with Osterman Research, has indicated that businesses most commonly witness security incidents involving business email compromise (BEC) attacks.

This type of attack is when a hacker pretends to be a genuine contact or company to fool someone into completing a fraudulent financial transfer, shreare protected information or attempt to encrypt servers in order to demand a ransom for this to be removed. 

These attacks can pretend to be a known company or else leverage a contact’s email that has already been infiltrated in a hacking attack. The other route of attack normally is as simple as altering the display name to make the recipient believe the email has been sent by a real contact, often the CEO, CFO, or a supplier.

Lookalike  or similar domains are also deployed in BEC attacks. This is where the cybercriminal copoes the spoofed company’s email template or layout so that it seems perfectly real to the recipient. 

BEC emails are expertly composed, most of the time, and aim to take advantage of an individual within an organization or a person in a specific position, more often than not the finance section of the organization. However, attacks have also been known to aim for the HR department, marketing department, IT department, and management.

In a lot of cases the hackers use the fact that the emails are quite realistic to engage with an employee in a stream of emails before asking for a money transfer or data swap to be completed. Even though this style of hacking attack is not as common as phishing attacks, the money stolen using it is much greater year on year.

There are a number of important steps to take to defend against these attacks:

  • Raise awareness of the threat by conducting staff training sessions that teach individuals how to spot a BEC attack.
  • Created policies and processes that state all email requests in relation to bank account details, payment methods, or make changes to direct deposit information for payroll to be verified by calling the known contact directly via the telephone number that you have on file.
  • Implement a solid email security system.

A solid email security system mitigates the chance of human error leaving you vulnerable to BEC attacks. it will prevent all efforts hackers make to steal email credentials. If there are machine learning techniques then you will be protected from zero-day attacks and DMARC and sender policy framework (SPF) will identify emails from individuals not permitted to send messages from a particular domain.

Ideally you should use an email security system like SpamTitan. This solution used all of the aforementioned methods of securing your organization from BEC attacks. When this is used along with the correct staff training and administrative measures, your group will be properly kitted out to address the threat posed by BEC attacks.

If you would like to learn more about how SpamTitan secures your company, call the TitanHQ team as soon as you can.