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Avoid Business Email Compromise Fraud with UK Based Email Hosting
How to Avoid Business Email Compromise Fraud
Having a small business on a success route is hard enough without facing the vicious crimes from online fraudsters. You want to focus on your customers and your goals, but threats are still there – and email is an important battleground.
One of the most dangerous threats to email security now is Business Email Compromise or BEC. But what exactly is it? What are the major threats? And how do you fight them?
Here at The Email Shop, I am going to describe the business email compromise attacks and the UK based email hosting services.
Business Email Compromise – UK Based Email Hosting
Business email hosting UK Compromise descriptions may vary. Some experts suggest that it covers a wide range of criminal scams, including password breaches and malware attacks. Some view it as a matter of social engineering techniques i.e. tricking an actual person.
What everyone agrees with, however, is that people are the main gateway. It’s more of a tech attack vs. tech defense. People who have access to sensitive information are the main targets, and there are various ways to deceive them – which we will cover later.
Small Business is at Risk from Email Compromise:
We may hear a lot about how well-organized criminals take big business for millions of dollars, but small to medium businesses are at high risk. Statistics reveal that 43% of cyber-attacks have punched small businesses – as stated by a recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. That figure continues to grow.
Also, big businesses tend to have large bank accounts equally to get into when criminals strike. Small companies do not have such wide pokes. One successful attack and you are less likely to relapse.
Why They Attack Email?
Email is one of the easiest ways for bad people to catch sensitive data or money. The messages we all send and receive every day have become so ubiquitous that it is easy to forget how much sensitive information is stored within them.
Password account information, customer details, business finance… Your inbox is probably the information box that fraudsters would like to get their hands on. If you think that this information could not only be used to defraud you, but also your employees, customers, and colleagues too, it becomes less of a treasure chest and more like an entire bank vault.
How does Email Compromise work?
A common company email attack will target one or more workers. It’s a form of fraudulent theft of personal information by bad people posing as senior executives, lawyers, CEOs, or other C-Suite executives – often someone an employee perceives should not be challenged.
The most specific type of attack is to create an email address that matches the domain name of the target company, or simply hack into the real thing. The email then tricks the employee into providing sensitive data or performing financial transactions – often meaning the action is “urgent” and can’t wait. They are designed to add stress and exploit our emotions, such as fear and confidence.
These scams can be very damaging to large and small businesses alike. Small to medium-sized companies are increasingly dependent on members of the team away from contractors, as well as general but small suppliers. Not only is email the primary means of communication, but trust that can be embedded within small groups and business networks can mean that people do it without asking.
A More private Look at Business Email Compromise Fraud
Like cybercrime in general, these types of attacks are common, but the most common types you can find are the following:
Business Executive scam: as mentioned above, scammers impersonate high-level executives or legal representatives who need a time-sensitive transfer.
Supplier Swindle: fake invoices are received from an email from what appears to be reliable or regular providers – unless the money goes to a fraudulent account.
Account compromise: such as “Supplier Swindle” back, with employee email corrupted and used to solicit payments from others.
Data Theft: usually targeting HR teams, this method is designed to obtain sensitive data such as employee tax or salary details – used for future major attacks.
Now It’s Getting Personal – UK Based Email Hosting
The above examples may be typical cases of Business Email Compromise, but the attacks are increasingly involving more sophisticated techniques. Criminals now do extensive research on people to make clear profiles, helping them find a better way to target people via email.
A typical example of Business Compromise email can now involve criminals viewing your output on social media. Maybe they see that you often go to talented social events, or you will be attending one soon.
Once they know what you like and where you will be, they can email you a fake invitation or a new trip full of links that could endanger your computer – and your company’s network. When they break your system, think of the damage they can do to all those email addresses, financial records, and customer details.
How to Spot and Stop Attacks
The key is to stay alert to potential threats through your email and to train your employees to do the same. Stopping is better than restorative. It is therefore important that you be aware of any “emergency” payment transfers, or anyone requesting sensitive data – whomever they are.
If you think you have received a fake email but are not 100% sure, here is a quick list to help you make the right decisions:
Check the sender: hover over the sender’s name and check if their email address is valid – just because you see the name doesn’t mean it’s them.
Look at the recipients: look at the number of people the email is addressed to – most random recipients could mean the spoiler is trying their luck.
Check to spell: scan for obvious typos and irregular errors, which may be a given – especially for emails that look legitimate.
Check out the links: hover over any hyperlinks to see exactly where they lead before you click them – does your location look right?
It is also very common for these fake emails to arrive at the end of the working week. This is when the brain is tired and time is very sensitive. But a quick DM or phone call to the requester (just to double-check them) is all that is needed to make sure the request is genuine.
People should be the biggest asset of the company. When business email security is compromised, it can also be a weak link. That’s why it’s important to not only keep email security high but also keep an eye out for the growing number of threats that can easily get into your inbox and put your business at risk.
Keep in mind that you may not be the only one targeted, so always report suspicious things to a relevant team member or file a complaint to IC3. Even if you don’t fall into the trap, someone else may. So don’t just send fraudulent emails straight to the trash folder. Here at the email shop, I have described the business email compromise attacks, and how you can avoid these attacks by using the UK Based Email Hosting provider.