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Showing posts with label BEC frauds. Show all posts

Business Email Compromise: Most Common Online Scam?


More and more small and medium enterprises are being affected by business e-mail compromise, according to a webinar, conducted by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


Business Email Compromise also known as BEC is a security exploit in which the threat actor obtains access to a corporate email account having links to company funds and then attempts to defraud the company or the employees by spoofing the targeted employee's identity. The attackers manipulate the target to transfer money into a bank account that belongs to them.

In the year 2019, BEC scams have amounted for losses of more than $1.77 billion, as per the FBI's Internet Crime Report. Businesses are being warned as BEC exploits surge due to the ongoing pandemic; companies that rely primarily on wire transfers to transfer money to international customers are the most common target of BEC.

An infected email network can cause a significant amount of damage to a company's interests, therefore safeguarding an enterprise is crucial – along with empowering employees, it will also shield business interests and longevity.

While giving insights on the subject matter, deputy commissioner of police (cyber) Anyesh Roy said, “The fraudsters do compromise with the email account of the person who is dealing with the company accounts and financial transactions. They create an email account that is similar to either company’s or client’s account. They come in the middle and start interacting with both the parties. They change the destination of financial transactions on some pretext, following which the money goes to the fraudsters’ account.”

“Whatever an instruction has been received from the client about changing the destination of banking account, it needs to be confirmed through alternate means, including phone call, e-mail, and other.”

“Cyber-crime is like any other crime and one can report it anywhere at any police station or DCP office. The complaint can be registered through e-mail also. Cyber-crimes are happening through digital medium and the evidences can easily be destroyed so the victim needs to capture it as a screenshot and give it to police with their complaint,” the officer added.

BEC Scams Increase Year over Year; Reach Monthly Average of More Than $300 Million



Business email compromise (BEC) scams have been on a steady rise year over year and as per the suspicious activity reports (SARs) received month since 2016, the count has now reached at a monthly average of more than $300 million.

The  Financial Crimes Enforcement Network  (FinCEN) in the wake of assembling the statistics about BEC episodes happening in the course of recent years recognized the most common types of targets alongside the destination planned for the stolen assets and the procedures utilized by the scammers.

Companies have said to have lost around $1.2 billion to this kind of cybercriminal movement, who's aim is to acquire assets by acting like a customer or upper management personnel in a company so as to fool the key individuals within the organization into wiring funds to an 'attacker-control bank account'.

Commercial entities offering proficient services  like landscaping, retail, restaurants, and lodging turned out to be increasingly alluring targets, with 18% of the attacks being aimed at them.

FinCEN's analysis describes the broader picture of BEC scams

In contrast to financial organizations, which fell in the rankings from 16% to 9%, real estate firms ended up being all the more enticing, representing 16% of the BEC scam victim pie.

The attackers however don't stay adhered to only one way; they have various strategies to accomplish their goal. From impersonating company CEOs to impersonating customers and vendors all the while using fake invoices they have done it all.

Therefore users are recommended to pay special mind to any Malwares or Spywares as the attackers rely heavily on malware intended to steal the necessary information for executing the attack just as Spyware for stealing the information important to break into email accounts.

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.”