Business Email Compromise (BEC): The Silent Cyber Threat


What is business email compromise (BEC)

In the realm of cyber security, the spotlight often shines on the most dramatic threats. Ransomware has dominated the narrative in recent years as an increasing number of businesses have succumbed to sophisticated attack campaigns. However, another insidious threat has been quietly escalating in the shadows: Business Email Compromise (BEC). 

Business email compromise (BEC) defined

Business email compromise (BEC) threat actors use convincing impersonation strategies to compromise legitimate business email accounts, conducting unauthorised transfers of funds or defrauding victims by obtaining access to corporate information related to financial accounts. 

According to a report by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3), BEC fraud has cost businesses worldwide more than $50 billion in the last decade, reflecting a growth in business losses to BEC scams of 17% year-over-year in 2022. This figure is likely an underestimate, as it only accounts for reported incidents. The true scale of BEC is probably much larger, making it a cyber threat that needs an appropriate level of attention. 

How do BEC scams work?

The success of BEC scams lie in its subtlety and the sophistication of its social engineering tactics. Cyber criminals have become increasingly adept at crafting messages that appear authentic, they undertake extensive research on their targets and seek to understand the driving forces of the business. This authenticity is key to BEC’s success, and it’s why this form of cybercrime continues to thrive despite increased awareness and defence mechanisms. 

The Modern Workplace: A New Frontier for Cyber Threats

The modern workplace, characterised by cloud-based login management and Single Sign-On (SSO) systems, has inadvertently created new opportunities for cyber criminals. User accounts with access to valuable data and authority over business processes are prime targets for threat actors. 

The challenge for businesses is to ensure the security of these user accounts without hindering collaboration and innovation. This requires continuous monitoring for suspicious activity that could indicate a breach, a task that is particularly challenging to achieve with traditional security measures alone. 

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face a unique set of challenges when it comes to cyber security within the modern workplace. While they are just as vulnerable to threats like Business Email Compromise, they often lack the resources and budget to implement high-end, sophisticated security solutions. This vulnerability is further exacerbated by the fact that cyber criminals often view SMEs as easy targets, assuming that their defences will be weaker than those of larger corporations. 

The challenge for SMEs, therefore, is to find a solution that offers robust protection against threats like BEC phishing without breaking the bank. They need a solution that is not only cost-effective but also easy to implement and manage, given the typically smaller size of their IT teams. 


The e2e-assure Solution to Prevent BEC scams

Modern Workplace Protection  

modern workplace protection

This is where e2e-assure’s Modern Workplace Protection service comes in. Designed with the needs of SMEs in mind, this service offers an affordable, effective and user-friendly approach to dealing with the increasingly complex challenges of identity and access management. 

The service utilises machine learning to drive anomaly detection, allowing for the identification and response to suspicious activity in real-time. This proactive approach significantly reduces the risk of Account Take Over (ATO) which is often a precursor to BEC, providing businesses with the peace of mind they need to focus on running their business. 

By implementing such proactive measures, businesses can significantly reduce the risk of ATO and BEC. This approach not only improves the security of privileged accounts but also supports containment of ransomware propagation through automatic deactivation of accounts exhibiting suspicious activity. 

At e2e-assure, we understand the importance of user-friendly interfaces for businesses with limited IT resources. That’s why our service provides clear and simple updates of status and posture using a Microsoft Teams app. This allows for easy access to important security information, enabling security leaders to stay informed about their security posture without needing to login to 3rd party SOC platforms. 

Simple steps to elevate Your Cyber Security Posture

The rise of BEC underscores the need for businesses to elevate their cyber security posture. While ransomware may grab the headlines, BEC is quietly causing significant financial loss and disruption. The key to combating this threat lies in proactive detection and response as offered our Modern Workplace Protection service. 

As we navigate the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape, it’s crucial to stay one step ahead. By implementing robust security measures and fostering a culture of cyber awareness, businesses can protect themselves against the silent menace of Business Email Compromise and ensure they are a secure partner to transact with in the digital supply chain. 

Author: Dominic Carroll


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