What Are BEC Attacks And How Can Your Antivirus Software Help?
Business email compromise (BEC) attacks are said to have increased at an alarming rate of 2,370% since 2015. Between 2016 and 2018, hackers accumulated over five billion dollars by running these scams. With the growing dependency on cloud-based services and IoT, this is an imminent threat that needs to be prevented.
Read on to learn more about BEC attacks and how you can use antivirus to protect yourself from these attacks.
What Is A BEC Attack?
Business Email Compromise attacks are cyber-attacks involving hacking and impersonating your company's CEO, supervisor, or vendors by spoofing emails. Social engineering techniques like antivirus software can help in avoiding such attacks.
The attack involves sending out legitimate business emails to ask for personally identifiable information (PII) or for tax and wage statements. These emails contain spam and are considered phishing. They may use the following tactics:
- Computer intrusion techniques like hacking
- Social engineering acts – phishing and spear phishing
These attacks can have severe consequences. According to a report, 73% of organizations experienced phishing in 2017. Moreover, 53% of IT sector companies reportedly experienced advanced and targeted phishing acts. Over time, this scam has proved to become consistent and sophisticated.
How It Works
While BEC attacks also use phishing-style tactics, the attack is much more subtle with a perfect blend of technical expertise and social engineering skills.
The messages don’t contain malicious links or attachments but instead, the attackers seek to trick the email recipient into treating the email as legitimate. It's social engineering that plays a key role. Usually, hackers harvest data about the target for months before they start the campaign.
A standard BEC attack works in the following way:
- Hackers impersonate the CEO’s email and send out casual emails to employees and connections. These emails won’t have any links or attachments but are sent with the purpose of engaging the target
- The target responds to the email
- The hacker creates a catch. For instance, they would say they’re in a meeting and urgently need some funds transferred to them
- The victim doesn’t double-check the mail or the sender and falls prey to the scam
How To Protect Yourself
There’s not a 100% effective way to stop BEC attacks. Prior mitigation can help you to avoid it and to be alert about it. Although it can’t be stopped entirely, simple measures can be taken which help in avoiding these attacks. These include:
- Educate your employees about spam. Awareness programs can be conducted for the employees to help them understand the severity of the threat
- Keep your employees up to date. Discuss the BEC attacks that have recently occurred in other companies as references
- Multi-factor authentication should be used. This acts as a thick layer of protection from hackers. At least use an enterprise-grade SSO solution
- Ask employees to report to Human Resources and Information Technology (IT) teams if they receive emails from seemingly fake addresses
- Secure your domain. Registration of domains with a similar name can help you avoid attacks
- Don’t open emails of unknown parties
- Double-check the sender’s email address
- Avoid emails that are free and web-based. Establish a company domain name to use it
- Use an enterprise-grade antivirus solution to monitor all incoming and outgoing data packets. A good antivirus will ensure real-time scanning of emails before they reach the target’s inbox
What About Antivirus Software?
Antivirus software protects your device and gives you online security. It scans incoming files and then cleans up any harmful software that it may find. Accordingly, it’s crucial to have at least one solution protecting your device.
As BEC attacks are dealt with, endpoint security is provided by antivirus solutions. Endpoint security is specifically designed for enterprise clients to protect all endpoint devices. IoT devices, phones, and computers are secured with these endpoint security systems.
The endpoint system protects your devices by providing antimalware, antivirus, and a combination of firewalls. The software not only provides cybersecurity, but also helps in cleaning up spam data. You’ll also be able to set up behavior-based monitoring per user account so that you can be alerted if anything is suspicious.
Read More: Does antivirus stop hackers?