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Risks Involved in a Business Email Compromise and How to Prevent Them

Today, we live in an era wherein our business’ reliance on technology is continuously increasing. However, this reliance comes with its fair share of challenges, particularly the prevailing risk of cyber threats

Amongst other cyber threats, Business Email Compromise or BEC is one such concern that is becoming increasingly common, posing a significant risk to businesses all over the world. 

In the event of a BEC attack, fraudsters make fraudulent emails appear legitimate, leading to unauthorised access to your business’s sensitive information. They can use this information to complete fraudulent transactions, expose confidential data or interrupt your operations. 

At Repalm, we have extensive experience in providing cybersecurity services to countless businesses in and around Northampton, so we are well-versed in the intricacies of BEC. 

To help you navigate this challenge better we will look into the risks associated with Business Email Compromise and provide best practices to strengthen your defences against it. 

What is a Business Email Compromise Attack?

A BEC attack occurs when a cybercriminal gets unauthorised access to your business account. The worst type of BEC is the Business Takeover Attack or ATO which involves the fraudster using manipulation tactics such as email phishing to access a company’s confidential information. 

These tricks are used to take control of or gain access to one or more of a company’s business accounts. Additionally, in the event of a BEC, the fraudsters might even pretend to be an employee of the targeted organisation, especially as someone from the higher management. 

Furthermore, often these hackers will try to target a senior staff member through channels such as messenger services, phone calls, or social media. One of the most common signs that point towards a BEC attack is that the communication will always revolve around your sensitive business information

Risks Involved in a Business Email Compromise

1. Financial Loss

Amongst other grave risks, one of the worst consequences of a business email compromise is the huge financial burden it entails. Such attacks can burn a hole in your pocket, as the hackers can manipulate your financial data, redirect funds or even make unauthorised transactions. 

This claim can be solidified by the fact that as per the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) Internet Crime Report 2022, there were 21,832 BEC complaints, resulting in adjusted losses surpassing $2.7 billion in 2022.

2. Reputational Damage

Trust and credibility are one of the most important factors to help your business build a strong reputation in the marketplace. A Business Email Compromise attack undermines these factors by misusing sensitive customer or client information or compromising confidential data. 

To sidestep these risks, many organisations are adding an added layer of protection by implementing measures such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) to keep their emails more secure. This shift towards more advanced security measures further emphasises the importance of adopting robust methods to safeguard the trust and credibility of a business. 

3. Disruption in Operations 

During a BEC attack, your critical business processes might get interrupted or your communication channels could be infiltrated, thereby disrupting your operations. As mentioned earlier, such attacks often involve fraudsters impersonating company personnel and exposing sensitive business information which can damage your business in several ways. 

Therefore, it is necessary to control and mitigate situations like these before they lead to operational disruptions. You will need to employ additional time and resources to rectify these issues which will further hinder your daily activities. The overall risk of financial, reputational and operational damage, makes BEC a prominent threat to your business.  

Best Practices for the Prevention of Business Email Compromise

BEC attacks are primarily carried out by using social engineering-based phishing attempts. Therefore, the good news is most of these instances can be prevented by training your employees to avoid human errors. As well as this, it is essential to use additional security in terms of your software protection, including multi-factor authentication to decrease the risk of impersonation or account takeover. 

Here are some measures that you can implement to strengthen your defence against Business Email Compromise attacks:

  • Most BEC attacks are caused due to a user’s credential leak, therefore, it is necessary to follow strong password practices. A great practice is using different passwords for your work and personal accounts. Additionally, avoid using obvious passwords like your date of birth or other easily guessable information. 
  • Make sure all your software is updated regularly to patch any vulnerabilities and stay ahead of potential threats. Keeping your software current will help you fix any weaknesses that fraudsters can exploit. 
  • As and when you update your software, make sure all your employees are aware of the latest updates and the security practices that it requires. 
  • Conduct regular employee training sessions that involve identifying the signs of a scam email, recognising phishing attempts, and understanding the importance of verifying unusual requests. 

Contact Redpalm to Safeguard Your Business Against Business Email Compromise Attacks and Other Prevalent Cyber Threats

Now that you know common risks and prevention measures associated with a BEC, you can better safeguard your business against it. Even with these useful tips, you may still need professional help to protect your business in this ever-evolving technological landscape. 

Redpalm is your reliable partner in safeguarding your business data and reputation against cyber threats. With our tailored solutions and team of cybersecurity experts, you can be confident that you’re receiving the best protection. 

As one of the leading cybersecurity service providers in the UK, we are committed to protecting your company from the ever-increasing challenges of the digital world.

We also offer services like Hybrid IT and technology procurement to ensure that your company operations run smoothly and problem-free.

Contact us today to take advantage of our wide range of cybersecurity services.