Stop! Think before you act on that email! In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to respond to emails without giving them much thought. However, this casual approach can make you vulnerable to Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks. BEC attacks occur when cyber criminals gain unauthorized access to your business email account, posing as trusted individuals to deceive your employees, customers, or partners into sharing sensitive information or sending money. It’s a misconception that only large corporations are targeted. According to the FBI, small and medium-sized businesses are equally susceptible, with BEC attacks costing over $26 billion in recent years. Moreover, Microsoft’s findings suggest that these attacks are becoming more destructive and challenging to detect.
To protect your business from such threats, here are some actionable steps you can take:
Educate your employees
Your employees serve as the first line of defense against BEC attacks. It is crucial to educate them about identifying phishing emails, suspicious requests, and fraudulent invoices. Regularly train them in cybersecurity best practices, such as creating strong passwords, using multi-factor authentication, and securely sharing files. Encourage your team to stop and think before acting on any email.
Utilize advanced email security solutions
Basic email protections like antispam and antivirus software are no longer sufficient to combat BEC attacks. To effectively detect and prevent these attacks in real-time, consider adopting advanced email security solutions that employ artificial intelligence and machine learning. Look for providers offering features like domain-based message authentication, reporting, and conformance (DMARC), sender policy framework (SPF), and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM).
Establish transaction verification procedures
Before transferring funds or sensitive information, establish verification processes that confirm the authenticity of requests. Implement methods such as phone calls, video conferences, or face-to-face meetings to ensure the legitimacy of these transactions. Relying solely on email for confirmation is not advisable.
Monitor email traffic
Regularly monitor your email traffic for any unusual activities or patterns. Pay attention to signs such as emails from unknown senders, login attempts from unfamiliar locations, modifications to email settings or forwarding rules, and unexpected emails. It is essential to have a well-defined protocol for reporting and addressing any suspicious activities promptly.
Keep software up to date
Always ensure that your operating system, email software, and other applications are up to date with the latest versions. These updates often include critical security patches that address known vulnerabilities, reducing the risk of successful BEC attacks.
Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks are on the rise and becoming increasingly sophisticated. However, by raising awareness, providing training to employees, and implementing robust security solutions, you can protect your business. Make sure to think before you act on that email!