The FBI has recently published a PSA that claims over 22,000 victims and nearly $3.1 billion in losses have been reported from October 2013 to May 2016.

These stats are staggering considering just two months ago, the FBI published a report claiming just 12,642 victims and $2.3 billion had been reported from business email scams from October 2013 to February 2016.

Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams have continued to grow in frequency and sophistication, so much so that since January 2015, the incurred losses have skyrocketed by 1,300%.

Per usual, hackers are primarily targeting businesses that work with foreign suppliers and/or those that conduct wire transfer payments on a regular basis. With the use of social engineering techniques, compromising email accounts, and by hacking into an organization’s network, hackers are able to illegally transfer funds to their bank accounts.

These criminals are also doing their homework, carefully profiling the target, becoming familiar with their everyday business operations in hopes to be able to use the payment method commonly associated with the victim before ever launching the attack.

Hacked-emails are commonly used whereby fraudsters create well-crafted emails requesting a wire transfer, tailor the message specifically to the targeted business, and often use phrases like ‘Urgent wire transfer’ in the email.

Hackers will then request wire transfers that are in line with the normal business transaction amounts not to raise any red flags, and that fraudulent emails coincide with business travel dates for employees whose emails are spoofed.

According to Trend Micro, the CEO is the most common ‘Sender’ in BEC Scams (31%), followed by the President (17%). The terms of recipients, the CFO is the most popular (40%), and the Director of Finance is second (10%).

Over the last few years, attackers have taken advantage of the sheer curiosity we as humans embody, often times leaving us to do their dirty work for them, infecting our systems, stealing sensitive credentials, and transferring funds.

Hackers will continue to rely on people’s gullibility and use individuals as unwitting pawns in their scheme to attack organizations with malware, gain key credentials, and frequently wire money directly to the criminals.

The best approach to this situation is to accept that humans are fallible and make mistakes, but recognize that checks and balances are essential. File Integrity Monitoring is advocated as an essential security defense by all leading authorities, such as NIST, CIS, and the PCI Security Standards Council. Introducing this solution into your IT Environment will ensure that a secure, hardened build standard is maintained at all times, and if any changes are made in underlying core file systems, you’ll be notified in real time.


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