BEC attacks: Most victims don’t use multi-factor authentication – apply it now and stay safe

Woman looking anxious while using laptop in office

Photo: Getty/LaylaBird

There has been a significant rise in Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks – most victims work in organizations that were not using multi-factor authentication (MFA) to secure their accounts.

BEC attacks are one of the most lucrative forms of cybercrime: according to the FBI, The combined total losses are over $43 billion and the number is growingWith attacks in at least 177 countries.

These attacks are relatively simple for cybercriminals to implement – all they need is access to an email account and some patience because they Attempting to deceive victims into making money transfers in the presence of a fake. This typically includes sending employees letters, purportedly from their boss or a colleague, that indicate that a payment—often a very large one—must be made quickly in order to secure an important business deal.

More advanced BEC attacks hack a corporate account and use a legitimate email address to make the payment request.

So it is known about him Scammers monitor your inbox for long periods of timeThey only choose to strike when a real trade deal is about to take place – at which point they cut and funnel the payment into their own account.

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With money being made in this way, cybercriminals are increasingly turning to BEC campaigns and businesses are falling victim to it. According to cybersecurity analysts at arctic wolfthe number of BEC attacks to which they responded doubled between January and March and April and June – and these attacks accounted for more than a third of all incidents investigated.

There was a common theme among many of the victims: according to incident responders, 80% of organizations that were victims of BEC attacks did not have an MFA.

Multifactor authentication Provides an extra layer of security for email accounts and files Cloud application groupsrequiring the user to verify that they are actually logged into the account, which helps protect against unauthorized intrusions – even if the attacker has the correct username and password.

Organizations that ignore MFA leave themselves open to BEC campaigns and other cyberattacks Despite repeated recommendations from cybersecurity agencies It should be applied. Why don’t they use it?

“MFA requires careful planning and coordination to successfully implement, ensuring organizations continue to operate without interruption. As users require training in how to use the MFA system, this may be challenging for some organizations,” said Adrian Korn, Director of Research Threat Intelligence at Arctic Wolf Labs told ZDNET.

“In addition, configuring and testing a new MFA deployment across an organization can place a heavy burden on already stressed IT departments,” he added.

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Despite these potential limitations, applying MFA to all user accounts is one of the most important things organizations can do to help protect their employees and networks from cyberattacks—if set up correctly.

“Organizations should plan their MFA deployments well in advance to explain the technical barriers they may encounter. Additionally, organizations should take time to ensure that MFA configurations are pre-tested at prime time and that users are trained well on how to use our new favorite MFA platform,” Korn said.

But while Multi-Familial (MFA) helps prevent cyberattacks, it is not infallible Determined cybercriminals find ways to bypass them.

With BEC attacks using social engineering to trick people into believing they are doing the right thing, it’s also important for organizations to train their employees to detect when a request – even if it comes from a legitimate account – is suspicious.

“Users should be trained to recognize suspicious financial requests. If something feels wrong, users should heed this instinct and inquire more. Urgent financial requests should be validated by additional means before major transactions are terminated,” Korn said.

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