Business Email Compromise: What is it and Why is it a Threat to your Business?

Business email compromise (BEC) is a type of cyberattack that targets businesses and their employees.

The goal of a BEC attack is to gain access to sensitive information, such as financial data or login credentials, by compromising the business’s email account(s).

Cybercriminals use a variety of methods to launch BEC attacks, including spam emails, phishing attacks, and social engineering. These attacks can be very costly for businesses – the average cost of a data breach in 2022 is £3.6 million!

As an IT Manager or Business Owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure your business doesn’t become the next victim of a business email compromise attack.

To do so, there are ways to protect your team.

What is Business Email Compromise?

Business email compromise (BEC) is a type of cyberattack that occurs when an attacker gains access to a business’s email account(s).

Once the attacker has gained access, they can send emails from the business’s account(s) to employees, customers, or other businesses often by impersonating an executive, HR, or trusted vendor to initiate fraudulent transfers of money.

The attacker can also use the business’s email account(s) to gain access to important business and personal data.

There are three main types of business email compromise attacks:

    • Spam emails – These are unsolicited emails that are sent in large quantities. They often contain malicious attachments or links that, if clicked, can install malware on the victim’s computer.
    • Phishing attacks – These are emails that appear to be from a legitimate sender but are actually from an attacker. The attacker will try to trick the victim into clicking a malicious link or attachment.
    • Spear phishing attacks – These are targeted phishing attacks that are directed at a specific individual or organization. The attacker will use personal information about the victim to make the email seem more legitimate.

Why is Business Email Compromise a Threat to your Business?

Business email compromise is a serious threat to businesses of all sizes. Attackers can use business email compromise to steal sensitive information, such as customer data or financial information.

They can also use business email compromise to ransomware businesses by encrypting their data and demanding a ransom payment.

Business email compromise is a growing problem because it is relatively easy for attackers to carry out and can be very profitable.

Attackers only need to find one person within an organisation who is gullible enough to click on a malicious link or attachment in order to gain access to the company’s network.

Once they have access, they can wreak havoc.

Don’t think that these cyber-criminals only target large multinational corporations. They can actually benefit more from attacking small to medium sized businesses.

According to Graphus, 65% of all organisations faced business email compromise attacks in 2020 alone, so what can you do to make sure your business and team are ready to deal with a BEC attack when it occurs?

How to Protect your Team from Business Email Compromise

There are several steps you can take to protect your team from business email compromise:

    • Educate your employees about the threat of business email compromise and how to spot it. Attackers are counting on employees being unaware of the threat and falling for their scams. By making your employees aware of the threat, you can significantly reduce the chances of them falling for a business email compromise attack.
    • Use multi-factor authentication for all your business email accounts. This adds an extra layer of security and makes it much harder for attackers to gain access to your accounts.
    • Be careful with sharing sensitive information over email. If possible, use encrypted channels such as VPNs or secure file sharing services instead.
    • Regularly back up your data and keep backups in a secure location. This way, if you do fall victim to a business email compromise attack, you can quickly recover any lost data.
    • Invest in an email spam filtering tool. There are hundreds of spam email filtering solutions for you to choose from. This solution monitors all emails coming into your account(s), it allows legitimate emails to be delivered but blocks potentially malicious emails and stores them in an email log. Implementing a spam email filter ensures that your team will never come across a potential business email compromise attack.

By following these steps, you can significantly reduce the chances of your business being impacted by a business email compromise attack.

However, it’s important to remember that BEC attacks are constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest threats and how to protect against them.

For more information on business email compromise and how to protect your business, visit our learning centre to learn everything you need to know about cybersecurity.

The potential threat of business email compromises can be incredibly difficult to deal with by yourself, if you would like an IT specialist to help manage and protect against these cyber-attacks, please get in touch today by phoning us on 01315100100 or fill out a contact form on our website.