Attention Nevada Small and Medium-sized businesses: Protecting your organization from cyber threats is crucial in today’s digital landscape. One particular threat on the rise is Business Email Compromise (BEC). In 2022 alone, BEC attacks witnessed an alarming 81% increase, yet a staggering 98% of employees failed to report these threats. Understanding the nature of BEC attacks and taking proactive measures to safeguard your Las Vegas or Reno-based business is imperative.
What is Business Email Compromise (BEC)?
Business Email Compromise (BEC) refers to a scam where criminals exploit email fraud to target both businesses and individuals, especially those involved in wire transfer payments. These scammers impersonate high-level executives or business partners and send emails to employees, customers, or vendors, requesting them to make payments or transfer funds.
According to the FBI, BEC scams cost businesses approximately $1.8 billion in 2020, and this figure rose to $2.4 billion in 2021. Falling victim to BEC attacks can lead to severe financial losses and reputational damage.
How Does BEC Work?
BEC attacks are often sophisticated, making them challenging to identify. Attackers conduct thorough research on the target organization and its employees, gathering information about the company’s operations, suppliers, customers, and business partners. A significant portion of this information is readily available online, on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and organizational websites. Armed with this knowledge, scammers craft convincing emails that appear to originate from high-ranking executives or trusted partners.
These emails typically urge recipients to make urgent, confidential payments or fund transfers. They employ social engineering tactics and create fake websites that mimic legitimate company sites to enhance the email’s credibility. By exploiting the recipient’s trust, scammers trick them into paying, absconding with the funds, and leaving the victim with significant financial losses.
How to Protect Against Business Email Compromise
While preventing BEC scams entirely may be challenging, our iTernal Networks team suggests businesses and individuals can take proactive steps to reduce the risk of falling victim to them.
Organizations should provide comprehensive training to employees, focusing on identifying and avoiding BEC scams. Employees must be aware of scammer tactics, such as urgent requests, social engineering, and fake websites. Additionally, training should cover email account security practices like checking the sent folder, using strong passwords, changing passwords regularly, securely storing passwords, and promptly reporting suspicious emails to IT.
Enable Email Authentication
Implement email authentication protocols like Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC), Sender Policy Framework (SPF), and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). These protocols verify the authenticity of sender email addresses, reduce email spoofing, and prevent legitimate emails from being marked as spam.
Deploy a Payment Verification Process
Establish payment verification processes such as two-factor authentication and confirmation from multiple parties. Having numerous individuals verify financial payment requests ensures that wire transfer requests are legitimate.
Check Financial Transactions
Implement robust procedures to verify financial transactions, such as two-factor authentication and confirmation from multiple parties. Verifying payment requests from various angles adds an extra layer of security.
Establish a Response Plan
Develop a comprehensive response plan for BEC incidents, including protocols for reporting the incident, freezing transfers, and notifying law enforcement. Being prepared and acting swiftly can mitigate potential damage.
Use Anti-phishing Software
Employ anti-phishing software that leverages AI and machine learning to detect and block fraudulent emails. As phishing technology advances, staying vigilant and utilizing effective tools to protect your business is crucial.
You Don’t Have to Go Through the Process Alone!
If you need assistance with email security solutions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our iTernal Networks team! Protecting your business emails is vital to prevent irreversible financial losses. Contact us today to discuss our email security solutions.