business email compromise risks

One wrong click.

That’s literally all it takes.

One wrong click and there goes your reputation.  There goes millions of dollars.  There goes your dreams and the dreams of all the people who depend on you.

What am I talking about?  Business Email Compromise (BEC)

Let this number hit you: $17,328,435,141. In a June 9, 2023 press release, the FBI reported that this is the dollar amount lost by U.S. citizens as a result of BEC. And, yes, they see BEC increasing.

Who’s being hit? Small and large businesses. Some of the more famous victims of BEC in the past five years include the government of Puerto Rico, the charity Save the Children, and the auto giant Toyota.

So, let me tell you a story...

This cautionary tale reveals the grim reality of Business Email Compromise (BEC) and how it left a company's reputation tarnished and its bottom line in tatters.

But I promise to end on a note of hope:  I’ll give you three critical steps to safeguard your business from BEC attacks, including the essential third-party security assessment.

Could this happen to you?

The cybercriminals initiated the attack by crafting a fraudulent email, perfectly impersonating the CEO. The email was subtly altered to display the CEO's name and the company's official domain, making it virtually indistinguishable from genuine communication. In this deceitful message, the criminals instructed the finance team to urgently wire a substantial sum to an overseas supplier, claiming it was a time-sensitive deal.

Trusting the seemingly legitimate sender and believing in the importance of the transaction, the finance team complied, transferring the funds to the specified foreign account. It wasn't until several hours later, when the genuine CEO inquired about the transaction, that the heartbreaking truth was uncovered.

The damage was staggering. The company lost a significant portion of its financial reserves, leading to cash flow constraints and delayed vendor payments. Moreover, news of the breach spread rapidly across social media and industry forums, severely denting the company's reputation. Long-standing clients expressed concerns about the security of their own transactions, while potential customers hesitated to engage with the now-tainted brand.

So, I promised you a hopeful ending.  Here are three steps to avoid your team falling for a reputation-shattering business email compromise attack on your watch.

Step 1: Knowledge is Power

Empower your team with cybersecurity awareness. Conduct regular training sessions on BEC and phishing threats, ensuring every employee knows how to spot suspicious emails and verify unusual requests.

Step 2: Fortify Your Defenses

Strengthen email security with advanced solutions that identify and block phishing attempts. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) to thwart unauthorized access, providing an extra layer of protection.

Step 3: Averting Disaster with Third-Party Security Assessment

Enlist the expertise of a third-party security assessment to comprehensively evaluate your company's vulnerabilities. Identify weak points in your defenses and receive actionable recommendations to enhance your security posture. Consider a third-party security assessment to evaluate the security of your network and data and help identify if anything needs to be addressed.