By Rex M. Lee
According to a new report from Secureworks, business email compromise (BEC) attacks are on the rise. BEC attacks, initial access vector (IAV), are considered insider attacks due to employee error according to IBM’s Breach Report. The FBI reported in 2022 that BEC attacks created a $43 billion dollar industry.
Social engineering (low skill) attacks, such as BEC, require nothing more than an effort to send phishing emails to mass numbers of email recipients. By mass email blasts, bad actors rely on a low percentage of recipients who will simply click on a nefarious link and/or an attachment enabling the malware to infect the recipient’s computer while spreading to other clients on the infected network.
“Business email compromise requires little to no technical skill but can be extremely lucrative,” says Mike McLellan, Director of Intelligence at Secureworks. “Attackers can simultaneously phish multiple organizations looking for potential victims, without needing to employ advanced skills or operate complicated affiliate models”.- TechRadar, 3.21.2023
Secureworks reported that BEC attacks in 2022 accounted for 33% of incidents up from 13% in 2021.
One of the factors in the rise of phishing attacks is the fact that bad actors are getting more sophisticated by crafting emails that look legitimate using logos of well-known corporations and/or government agencies.
Unfortunately, business depends on email, so it is prudent for companies to employ best practices that include strong endpoint cybersecurity protocols centered on awareness, email security, and employing multi-factor authentication.
Besides low tech BEC attacks, the report also noted that ransomware associated with operating system and applications were on the rise.
Business also depends on a apps supported by popular operating systems that include the Android OS, Apple iOS, and Microsoft Windows 8, 10, & 11 OS which support centralization.
This means that these popular operating systems and apps are developed more for consumerism rather than for security and privacy.
Dating back to 2019, I have written about OS and app attack vectors regarding attacks on networks, including critical infrastructure in an article I wrote for MissionCrtical Communications Magazine (republished by Nspirement), “The Rise of Foreign Cybersecurity Threats”.
Centralized operating systems, such as the Android OS, Apple iOS, and Windows 11 OS, can be easily compromised due to the fact that these popular operating systems support centralized apps.
Centralized apps can be described as “intrusive apps” that enable developers, including those from China and Russia, to monitor, track, and data mine the end user for profits posing massive security, privacy, and safety threats to end users.
In closing it is important that businesses and government agencies consider adopting endpoint devices, including smartphones and PCs, that are supported by secure and private operating systems and apps such as Purism’s PureOS which supports smartphones and PCs manufactured by Purism.
It is important to prioritize endpoint cybersecurity through secure and private devices while employing best practices from the boardroom, C-Suite, to the frontline employee.
Rex M. Lee is a privacy and Cybersecurity advisor, tech journalist and a senior tech/telecom industry analyst for BlackOps Partners, Washington, DC. Find more information at CyberTalkTV.com