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Nigerian BEC Fraudsters Resorting to RATs as the Tool to Amplify Attacks



The number of Business Email Compromise, also known as BEC fraud has risen up by an alarming rate; hackers have resorted to Remote Access Trojans (RAT) to amplify their attacks. 

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, IC3 attempted to reduce the damage done by these attacks by formulating a Recovery Asset Team which took care of the consequences of  BEC scams. However, the number of scammers involved in these kinds of attacks is significantly more than ever before.

The attacks which witnessed an unprecedented upsurge are regarded as a global threat with Nigeria practicing it extensively; in the African country, money making via BEC scams have become the norm. After examining the cybercrime in Nigeria, Palo Alto Network’s Unit 42 recorded the country’s evolution into employing ransomware and malware to attain financial objectives.

In 2018, the number of groups involved in BEC scams reached up to 400 which were a hundred more than the previous year, the activities further multiplied by 54% in comparison to the year 2017.

With a monthly average of 28,227 attacks, the most affected sector was High-tech which recorded over 120,000 attacks in the previous year and the second most targeted was the wholesale industry which was subjected to around 80,000 attacks. Lastly, the third most affected sector was manufacturing, which fell prey to a total of 57,000 attacks.

Monitoring the attacks, Verizon says in a report, “Given the sheer number of incidents in this sector, you would think that the government incident responders must either be cape and tights wearing superheroes, or so stressed they’re barely hanging on by their fingernails.”

“Admittedly we do not have as much data as to what is happening beyond the deception and initial device compromise. The inclusion of keylogging malware is a good indicator that additional credential theft and reuse is a likely next step.”



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