Business Email Compromise
Business email compromise (BEC) is a form of cybercrime in which cyber criminals use social engineering tactics to impersonate a trusted executive, vendor, or client via email, tricking an unsuspecting employee into making a fraudulent payment. According to the FBI, BEC attacks have caused over $26 billion in losses since 2016, with small and medium-sized businesses being particularly vulnerable.
In 2019, UK Finance recorded over 122,000 instances of this scam, which cost UK businesses gross losses of £455.8 million, with the figure expected to grow continually over the coming years.
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Business Email Compromise (BEC)
Sometimes known as ‘man-in-the-email’ scams or ‘CEO fraud’, BEC tricks employees into providing confidential information or sending money to someone they believe they can trust. Cybercriminals will either hack into the email accounts of C-suite / business or create new ‘fake’ versions of the email that appear to be authentic.
The cybercriminal imposters will often pose as a manager or member of the c-suite to email potential victims in the accounts or finance team with an ‘urgent’ request to send money via wire transfer as an example. This type of threat targets predictable human behaviours and rely on workers being busy, distracted or inattentive. The big challenge businesses face is the fact that most BEC attacks will not be detected by antiviruses, spam filters or other basic cybersecurity measures as they employ social engineering techniques, rather than malicious links or attachments.
Many large businesses and organisations have been compromised in this way with many others determined to keep threat behind closed doors.
- Bank of Ireland suffered an attack in May 2020 which resulted in the theft of €1.4m from one of its Dublin based subsidiaries.
- TSB bank suffered numerous cyberattacks during an upgrade in 2018 which resulted in a tsunami of BEC attacks on their customers
- Trinity College reported that it had lost 1m to a BEC scam after fraudsters had intercepted emails between the university and vendors. (Many Universities and colleges have been targeted throughout the UK and Ireland resulting in the loss of millions.
It’s not exclusively the finance or education sectors – every business or organisation is vulnerable to BEC attacks however the small to medium sized businesses are most susceptible often due to their limited resources and occasionally, a lack of IT personnel.
How you can protect your business from BEC attack
The consequences of a BEC attack are evident – financial loss, potential legal repercussions, data theft, reputation damage and the loss of customer trust and confidence. You need to take the position that business email compromise is a serious threat to your business and take the following actions:
Education & Training
Do everything in your power to ensure that your employees understand the tactics used in these attacks and also the risks involved. Ask them to be on the lookout for strange or curious requests from leaders within the organisation. Watch out for any quirks in obvious financial processes or efforts by anyone to sidestep normal channels or protocols.D
Secure Email Protocols
Ensure that you implement strong email security measures such as two-factor authentication and email encryption. Ensure that the email system is up to date and that patches are all up to date.
Limit access to accounts and establish clear financial protocols, dual authorisation for amounts over a certain threshold. Make sure all relevant employees are clear on these protocols.
Security Operations Centre
How the LoughTec SOC can protect your business?
The LoughTec SOC is responsible for detecting, analysing and responding to security incidents in real time delivered through software, technology and (human) security analysts. In addition to 24/7 monitoring and management, the SOC helps organisations maintain
security policies and procedures, deliver training and provides regular reports on our customers security posture.
Here’s how it works:
No obligation, no cost initial consultation to review your current security protocols, enhanced potential requirements and your main concerns.
Deploy the LoughTec System Security Scan for a deep dive on your current cyber posture as well as your threat risk score and analysis.
Review all findings and create our joint cyber security action plan to mitigate the potential risks.
Implement the required tailored cyber improvement plan and resolution actions for your business.
Ongoing LoughTec account management updates with additional training and support tools and plans available.
Remember cyber threat is a real and constant – there is a good chance that you have already been hacked. If not yet, you definitely will be. It’s important to know that your network is being monitored 24/7/365 – just like you would for your property or plant.
Cyber protection is an investment, not an expense – the LoughTec SOC can protect your most valuable business assets from as little as from as little as £4/day.
For more information and to book a free no-obligation consultation email
Get in Touch with Loughtec Cyber Security
Customer Success Stories
Don’t just take our word for it
“The deployment process was quick and seamless, and was completed across all our endpoints in a couple of days. The reporting from the SOC is essential for us. It gives us a demonstration of its value for money. We can show our directors and management, ‘these are the types of attacks that have happened or attempted to happen, and this is how the system is paying for itself.’
What price can you put on the loss of your data or your business being down for a significant amount of time?”
Brian McCabe, Global IT Manager
“Our business was the victim of two hacking incidents – one in which our IP address was ransomed and we were invited to pay in Bitcoin to release it. The other was an email spoofing incident, where one of our clients was contacted by an unknown source claiming to be us.
“I would strongly suggest an IT security audit, as a minimum starting point for any business. It gives results and advice on things that you would not ordinarily consider in terms of your cyber security.
“The LoughTec Security Operations Centre (SOC) helps protect our IT infrastructure, protecting our business and our data.”
Yvonne Conway, Project Manager
“LoughTec is one of the leading Cyber Security systems providers worldwide and our research highlighted that they provide one of the most advanced file upload malware protection and detection solutions.
This partnership with LoughTec gives us the confidence and assurance that every file system uploaded through our platform is malware and virus free, allowing us to focus on our core business of selling property.”
Ebenezer Akintunde, Software Delivery Manager