BEC and FRAUD

Business Email Compromise

One of the most critical cyber-attacks to high-net-worth individuals is Business Email Compromise or BEC, which soared to 48% in the second quarter of 2020 alone. BEC phishing messages are deceptively simple with no links or attachments to raise red flags. They are cunningly socially engineered to impersonate a high-net-worth individual making a request that looks and sounds perfectly credible.

BEC fraudsters stalk and study their targets carefully, often for months. They mimic the writing style of the individual, even referring to events or social gatherings they learn of by hacking personal devices. The goal of this cyber-attack is to trick the target’s associate, family member, or employee into transferring funds to a spoofed account, which the criminals quickly drain and close, vanishing into cyberspace with the stolen funds in moments.

Social media account hijack and corruption

Influential in business and lifestyle, high-net-worth individuals might be closely followed by millions on a daily or even hourly basis. Their communications and insights can influence the value of their own and shareholder investments, and even impact the behavior of the marketplace itself.

When a threat actor gains access to the social media accounts of a high net worth individual, they initiate these cyber-attacks by impersonating that target to post false information that affects share prices and corporate value. They might also expose confidential correspondence, make libelous claims, and wreak other havoc as damage spreads out across people, businesses and geographies.

How to Lessen Fraud Threats:
  • Training and awareness
  • Strict transaction authentication
  • Cyber threat intelligence

CASE STUDIES

FBI Special Agents arrest global BEC threat actor for massive cyberheist

Criminal ingenuity together with clever social manipulation creates the highly successful scheme known as BEC (also called CEO Fraud or Imposter Attack). In 2019 alone, losses attributed to BEC totaled $1.7 billion.1

In June 2020, US. law enforcement arrested a high-living Nigerian national, Ramon Abbas, 37, who was a notorious fraudster and key player in a massive transnational conspiracy. Abbas was charged with stealing hundreds of millions of dollars through BEC and other scams to finance his opulent lifestyle abroad.

  1. “FBI: BEC Losses Totaled $1.7 Billion in 2019”