Businesses can easily fall for BEC (Business Email Compromise) attacks. Unfortunately, BEC attacks are hard to detect, and any business can be its victim as it’s growing fast. According to a report by SC Media, BEC attacks, in the previous year, jumped by 81%.
The threat of email attacks cannot be underestimated, as human vulnerability remains a critical risk factor. Cybercriminals continuously develop new and sophisticated social engineering strategies to trick employees into opening dangerous emails and divulging sensitive data, such as login credentials and financial details.
While certain Business Email Attacks involve malware, many depend on social engineering methods, which render conventional measures such as antivirus software, email whitelisting, and spam filters useless. Nonetheless, one of the most effective steps you can take, as a business owner, is to provide thorough employee training and implement internal prevention strategies, particularly for frontline employees who are often the primary targets of most phishing attempts.
This article will discuss six practical ways to combat BEC attacks.
Six Ways to Combat BEC Attacks
The following are practical ways to fight BEC attacks:
1. Comprehensive employee training regarding BEC attack strategies
One of the crucial measures for protecting businesses against the Business Email Compromise (BEC) is to ensure that employees receive comprehensive cybersecurity training. That training should cover the potential risks and consequences of such attacks, and the appropriate response in the event of such. By gaining a thorough understanding of cybersecurity best practices, employees can cultivate a culture of accountability within the organization.
A well-designed training program should emphasize the crucial role played by social engineering tactics in BEC attacks. It’s worth noting that the success of these attacks doesn’t stem primarily from advanced technological capabilities but from the use of human weaknesses. Communicating expectations and roles clearly, and guiding the proper use of accounting and IT controls, can enable employees to serve as the first line of defense against these threats.
2. Innovative email security techniques
As the human factor remains at the heart of Business Email Compromise attacks, the use of technologies and new platforms can narrow the gap, thereby boosting the overall businesses’ overall security posture. Traditional approaches to detecting BEC attacks are no longer sufficient in offering effective protection to businesses. Given the constantly evolving tactics malicious actors employ, it is impossible to continue with and use the required adjustments to these methods within a reasonable timeframe.
By incorporating technology that leverages machine intelligence, businesses can detect any attempt of compromising or phishing, such as credential phishing and baits aimed at top targets for aggressive account takeovers. Additionally, they can attain greater visibility into potential threats and allow employees to carry out their roles without needing to inspect every email to determine the authenticity of its contents.
3. Employ anti-phishing protection
One effective measure to fortify email security is to implement anti-phishing protection on email servers. Once configured, this feature can be set to generate a pop-up alert whenever the server identifies a potentially dangerous email originating from external sources.
The recipient will then be prompted to exercise caution and carefully inspect the email’s contents, minimizing the risks of falling prey to phishing attempts. This precautionary step can significantly enhance the company’s email security posture and protect against potentially disastrous cyber threats.
4. Never send data or money without verification
It is recommended to exercise caution before transferring funds and to make direct contact with the manager or individual in question. A mere email request for money may appear impersonal and suspicious, thereby necessitating a direct conversation to verify the legitimacy of the request. By placing a call, the identity of the petitioner can be validated, or a possible BEC attack can be detected and reported.
5. Consider geo-blocking
To prevent unauthorized access is to implement geo-blocking, which denies login attempts from countries where users are not commonly found. This security measure is particularly useful for companies that do not engage in international operations. However, international companies can still use this strategy by restricting access from countries where they do not have a presence.
It is worth noting that while geo-blocking offers a robust layer of security, it can also pose challenges for employees who frequently travel and need access to their emails. Besides, malicious actors can bypass geo-blocking by exploiting infrastructure, such as VPN services, compromised hosts, or open proxies, located in the same location as their target. Nevertheless, implementing geography-based controls, like impossible travel, can provide an added layer of protection against these threats.
6. Contact IT
In the event of a suspected BEC and the presence of any dubious email in an employee’s inbox, it is advisable to encourage them to promptly notify the security and IT teams. It is also advisable to recommend that the company defers to the IT department regarding emails that raise doubt.
Moreover, it may be worthwhile to engage the services of an external IT company that can alert you when web domains resembling your own have been registered. Cybercriminals can leverage such domains to execute BEC attacks that dupe your business partners or employees into diverting funds.
Although conventional security measures like email gateways and network defenses can effectively prevent most types of spam, it is imperative to emphasize user education and awareness to avoid falling prey to BEC attacks.
Let Connect2Geek Help You Prevent and Combat BEC Attacks
At Connect2geek, we take the security of your home and business computers seriously. Our Protect IT Plans are designed to provide you with proactive protection and ensure that your technology is always secure.
With our plans in place, you can enjoy peace of mind, knowing that your valuable data and information are in good hands. Need our help? Contact us today!