Business email compromise (BEC) attacks have been increasing in frequency and sophistication in recent years, posing a significant threat to businesses of all sizes. BEC attacks involve cybercriminals gaining unauthorized access to a company's email system and using it to send fraudulent emails, often to employees or customers, in an attempt to steal money or sensitive information.
In 2022, BEC attacks jumped by 81%, and 98% of employees failed to report these threats.
A successful BEC attack can be devastating for a business. The consequences range from financial losses and reputational damage to a complete loss of customer trust. That's why it's so important for businesses to implement robust security measures to protect their email systems and data from cybercriminals. In this article, we will explore some tips to combat the increase in BEC attacks and protect your business.
MFA is a security process that requires users to provide multiple forms of identification before accessing an account or system. By implementing MFA, businesses can add an extra layer of security to their email system, making it more difficult for cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access.
MFA can take various forms, including biometric authentication, SMS codes, or hardware tokens. By requiring employees to use MFA to access their email accounts, businesses can significantly reduce the risk of a successful BEC attack.
The majority of BEC attacks involve social engineering, which is the practice of manipulating individuals to disclose sensitive information or perform actions that are not in their best interest. Cybercriminals often use social engineering tactics to trick employees into disclosing login credentials or transferring funds to fraudulent accounts.
To combat this, businesses should provide regular training to their employees on how to identify and respond to phishing emails, social engineering tactics, and other cybersecurity threats. Training should include simulated phishing exercises, which can help employees recognize and report suspicious emails.
Email authentication protocols, like Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC), can help verify the authenticity of an email and prevent spoofing.
Spoofing is a common tactic used by cybercriminals in BEC attacks, where they create an email address that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a CEO or a trusted supplier. By implementing email authentication protocols, businesses can prevent these types of attacks and reduce the risk of financial losses.
Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to a system or steal sensitive information. By keeping software up to date, businesses can ensure that they have the latest security patches and updates, reducing the risk of a successful BEC attack.
Regularly updating software is essential, not just for email systems but for all software used by the business. This includes operating systems, antivirus software, and other applications.
Monitoring email accounts for suspicious activity is essential in detecting and preventing BEC attacks. Businesses should regularly review their email system logs for unusual login attempts, emails sent from unfamiliar IP addresses, or changes to email settings.
By monitoring email accounts, businesses can detect a BEC attack early and take steps to prevent financial losses or data breaches.
Email encryption is a technique that uses cryptography to secure the content of an email message. By encrypting emails containing sensitive information, businesses can prevent cyber criminals from intercepting or accessing the content of the email.
Email encryption is particularly important for businesses that deal with sensitive customer or financial information, such as banks, healthcare providers, or insurance companies.
Weak passwords are one of the most common vulnerabilities exploited by cybercriminals in BEC attacks. Businesses should ensure that employees use strong passwords and change them regularly.
Passwords should be at least eight characters long and include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using easily guessable information such as birthdates, names, or common words. Password managers can also help generate strong passwords and store them securely.
Limiting access to email accounts can help reduce the risk of a BEC attack. Businesses should restrict access to email accounts to only those employees who require it for their job function. Additionally, businesses should revoke access to email accounts for employees who have left the company or changed roles.
Cybercriminals often use BEC attacks to request sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial data, from employees or customers. Businesses should implement procedures to verify any requests for sensitive information, such as contacting the requester via a separate channel or requiring additional authentication.
Backing up data is essential in case of a successful BEC attack or other cybersecurity incidents. Regularly backing up email data ensures that businesses can quickly restore email accounts and data in the event of a data breach or system outage.
BEC attacks are a growing threat to businesses of all sizes, and cybercriminals are continually developing new tactics to evade security measures. Implementing these tips can help businesses protect their email systems and data from BEC attacks and other cybersecurity threats. However, no single security measure is foolproof, and businesses should take a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity, including regular training, monitoring, and testing.
If you're concerned about your business's cybersecurity, Vudu Consulting can help you obtain a detailed risk assessment and develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. Contact us today online or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, investing in cybersecurity is an investment in your business's future.