Top Cyber Threat: Business E-Mail Compromise Scams

Business e-mail compromise (BEC) scams have emerged as the most prevalent cyber attack facing businesses today, as reported by cyber-security firm Arctic Wolf. Nearly 75% of businesses have encountered these scams, and 29% have suffered successful attacks. These scams involve criminals impersonating company insiders or vendors to trick key personnel into transferring funds.

While BEC scams are currently the most frequent, other cyber threats such as ransomware attacks and data breaches are also on the rise, leading to significant financial, legal, and reputational damage. Combating these threats requires comprehensive training and cyber insurance coverage to mitigate associated costs.

Main Cyber Threats to Businesses

1. Business E-Mail Compromise (BEC):

  • Prevalence: 70% of organizations reported being targeted.
  • Examples: Impersonating executives to request wire transfers, falsifying invoice payment details, and tricking employees into revealing sensitive information.
  • Challenges: Hard to detect in cloud-based e-mail services like Office365, as these attacks do not reside on company servers.

2. Data Breaches:

  • Impact: 48% of organizations detected evidence of a breach. The other 52% may have been breached but lacked evidence.

3. Ransomware:

  • Incidence: 45% of organizations experienced ransomware attacks in the past year.
  • Mechanism: Criminals gain access through malicious links, lock systems, and demand ransoms. Increasingly, these attacks involve data theft, with additional ransoms demanded to prevent data release.

Strategies to Combat BEC Scams

  • Domain Registration: Register similar domain names to prevent spoofing.
  • E-mail Rules: Implement rules to flag e-mails from unknown domains.
  • Monitor E-mail Rules: Restrict or monitor new e-mail rule creation within the server.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication: Enable for additional security.
  • BEC Drills: Conduct regular drills similar to anti-phishing exercises.
  • Detection Tools: Use tools or services designed to monitor BEC threats, especially in cloud-based e-mail environments like Office365.

Strategies to Combat Ransomware

  • Regular Backups: Frequently back up systems and important files, and verify backups regularly.
  • Separate Storage: Store backups on devices not connected to the network, such as external hard drives.
  • Staff Training: Educate employees to recognize phishing e-mails designed to release ransomware.

Importance of Cyber Insurance

Investing in cyber insurance is crucial for protecting against cyber attacks. Policies typically cover financial losses, investigation costs, crisis communication, legal services, and customer refunds related to cyber attacks or data breaches. Coverage specifics vary by carrier, so it is essential to understand the details of your policy.

By implementing these proactive measures and securing adequate insurance coverage, businesses can better protect themselves against the growing threat of cyber attacks.

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