What is business email compromise (BEC) and how can it be prevented?

What is business email compromise (BEC) and how can it be prevented?

Email continues to be one of businesses’ primary means for transmitting sensitive and confidential data, so protecting your organization from business email compromise (BEC) attacks should be part of your cybersecurity strategy. BEC attacks typically involve a cybercriminal pretending to be a business partner, supplier, or executive to trick their targets into giving them access to their company's sensitive information or funds.

What makes BEC attacks dangerous?

BEC attacks are more dangerous than traditional phishing scams because they are sophisticated, involving careful research and planning to make the scheme appear legitimate. BEC scammers are often very patient and take the time to study their targets, using tactics such as spoofing email addresses, pretexting, or impersonating executives.

And while the immediate direct losses resulting from BEC attacks can be enormous, the long-term reputational damage can be even worse. It is therefore crucial for businesses to stay vigilant and prepare themselves to mitigate this growing threat.

Tips to protect against BEC attacks

By following the tips below, you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of a BEC attack.

Create strong passwords and implement multifactor authentication (MFA)

A strong password is crucial in preventing hackers from accessing your accounts. The National Institute of Standards and Technology recommends the use of passphrases since these are long and difficult to guess but easy enough to remember.

To further secure your accounts, enable MFA whenever possible. MFA requires you to enter a unique identification factor, such as a biometric component or a PIN sent to your device, in addition to your password. This prevents hackers from getting into your accounts even if they manage to obtain your password.

Use reliable email encryption services

Whether you're sending confidential company information or personal messages, taking the extra step to encrypt your emails can go a long way in safeguarding your data. Encrypting your emails scrambles the data they contain, preventing unauthorized entities from accessing your messages and keeping your conversations private and secure.

Monitor for suspicious emails

Look out for messages from unfamiliar senders, emails with suspicious attachments or links, or any message that asks for personal information. Also, if the contents of the email look too good to be true, they probably are.

Train employees on cybersecurity awareness

With proper training in recognizing the signs of BEC, such as suspicious requests for fund transfers, unknown sender email addresses, and unusual urgency in emails, employees are better equipped to identify and report potential threats.

Verify requests for fund transfers

Always verify requests for fund transfers through a different communication channel, such as a phone call or by using an approved verification process. This lets you confirm whether the request is legitimate and not a fraudulent attempt to transfer funds.

Verifying transfer requests can also help prevent errors or misunderstandings that could lead to the unintentional transfer of funds to the wrong account. This can help ensure that all funds transfers are authorized and that the organization's financial assets are protected from other forms of financial fraud.

Partner with an experienced managed IT services provider (MSP)

MSPs like Founders Technology Group offer a range of cybersecurity services, including network monitoring, security assessments, and incident response services, to help detect and mitigate potential threats before they cause harm to your organization. MSPs can also provide ongoing monitoring and support to ensure that your organization's IT systems are secure and up to date.

You can also benefit from an MSP’s cutting-edge resources and its team of cybersecurity professionals. With the right tools and expertise, you can reduce the risk of BEC attacks and other cyberthreats, giving you peace of mind that your organization's data and financial assets are secure.

Founders Technology Group can help safeguard not only your emails but also your entire IT infrastructure. Learn more about our services: call us at 860 256 8197 or drop us a line.