Business Email Compromise (BEC)…sounds like something you might learn about in business school. Sounds almost boring. However, in reality, it is one of the main sources of online fraud, even topping ransomware.
BEC doesn’t have that ominous ring to it like “ransomware.” Nor does it confront you with a skull and crossbones on your screen warning you that your files are encrypted, your computer is locked, and you must pay thousands of dollars in ransom to regain your data. BEC is much more…well, sophisticated.
In a Business Email Compromise, the perpetrator will send an email to a well-researched target (victim). The email will appear to come from a senior manager and will direct the recipient to wire a significant transaction to an account. Additionally, the sender will include a sense of urgency. For example, “We need to send $500,000 to account number #123456 at “Banks R Us” in the Cayman Islands immediately or we will lose our biggest account! By the way, I’m boarding a flight and will not be reachable for a couple of hours. I need this transaction done by the time I land in Palm Springs.” Or something along those lines.
The scammer is relying on the recipient wanting to please their boss as well as the urgency of the request. As time goes on, these requests look more legitimate as scammers are able to spoof emails in order to truly appear to come from the boss or other legitimate entity.
Additionally, the scheme might be less urgent and simply look like it’s coming from a vendor instructing the accountant at your firm to redirect payment for this month to a “new account.”
This is a crime that cannot always be stopped by technical means. If the criminal has gotten control of the sender’s email, the message will appear to come from that manager or vendor.
Prevent Business Email Compromise (BEC)
The protection against these types of scams includes training and procedures.
Any deviation from the normal business should require that the recipient have authorization via other communication or from a second entity. A phone call or walking over to the office to confirm. Looking for clues in the sender’s email. If the language seems ‘off’ or the email address doesn’t look right. Maybe the amount is more than you’ve ever sent before.
The FBI warns that, especially during the pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of BEC scams. While ransomware continues to grab the headlines, BEC continues to cause the greatest financial damage.
Do you prioritize the safety and security of your organization? Allow Commonwealth Sentinel to be your partner in risk reduction and ensuring the well-being of all. Our comprehensive services range from software and hardware solutions to training and policy implementation. Contact us at (502) 320-9885 to learn more about how we can help you achieve peace of mind.