Story image

Do you know how to spot and destroy that BEC scam?

14 Jul 2016

Business email compromise (BEC) scams, also known as CEO fraud, is a huge problem in 2016, with Symantec reporting that more than 400 businesses are hit by business email compromise (BEC) scams daily.

The FBI states that $3 billion has been lost to these scams, with more than 22,000 global victims and they show no signs of stopping.

Symantec defines BEC scams as low-tech financial fraud, an evolution of traditional Nigerian 419 scams. Spoofed emails are sent to CEOs requesting large money transfers. Often looking genuine, the scams are easily set up and the rewards are high, Symantec says.

Symantec has found that BEC scams most often target SMBs and financial sector organisations. The emails target at least two employees - most likely with higher positions in financial roles.

The scams most often originate from IP addresses in Nigeria (46%), the United States (27%), the United Kingdom (15%), South Africa (9%), Malaysia (2%) and the Russian Federation (1%).

One main group is responsible for more than 12% of BEC email traffic. The group has targeted more than 2700 organisations and obtained access to 68 genuine email accounts.

BEC emails are sent following a standard working week to capitalise on the times businesses expect relevant emails and can clear financial transactions. Symantec's blog says that "they will generally begin sending emails from 0700 GMT, take a break from 1100 until 1400 GMT and then resume sending until 1800 GMT."

Symantec recommends user education as the most effective protection against BEC scams. Users should:

  • Be suspicious of emails requesting unusual actions or actions that don't follow normal business procedures
  • Do not respond to suspicious emails. If the email looks legitimate, use the company's address book to contact the person directly and ask them if it is legitimate.
  • Use two-factor authentication for wire transfers.
  • If you have fallen victim to BEC fraud, Symantec recommends notifying your financial institution and local law enforcement.
Why an IT resilient strategy needs to be in the modern CIO’s toolkit
"Having an IT resilience strategy in place allows an organisation to smoothly adjust to change."
Tollring partners with Novum Networks for call analytics
Novum Networks has added the full complement of Tollring’siCall Suite cloud analytics to its product portfolio.
Intel announces “most powerful mobile processors ever”
Improvements in performance, responsiveness and Wi-Fi connectivity will be rolling out for gamers and creators alike.
Software AG launches new cloud-based IT portfolio management tool
“Alfabet FastLane’s out-of-the-box approach absolutely addresses the needs of smaller IT teams."
Slack's 2019 feature roadmap unveiled
Including shared channels across organisations, workflow automation, greater email and calendar integration, and streamlined search.
Data#3 wins learning and development award two years running
Chief Learning Officer magazine’s LearningElite programme honours the best organisations for learning and development.
Avaya partners with Standard Chartered to deliver CX transformation
"Avaya is proud to be supporting this venerable financial institution as it continues to evolve and transform to meet the needs of its clients.”
Hootsuite leads the social engagement charge - Forrester report
“Hootsuite leads the pack with its seller focus and scale,” writes Forrester principal analyst Mary Shea.