Quarterly Newsletter Q3 2023

In today’s digital age, it is crucial to stay informed and proactive about new technologies as well as protecting our company’s data and systems from cyber threats. This newsletter aims to provide you with valuable insights, best practices, and updates regarding cybersecurity measures.

Phishing Scam of the Quarter

More often than not, hackers don’t need a specific exploit to access an enterprise network, typically they find other creative ways to gain access using social engineering techniques. In the corporate space, they typically will use a Business Email Compromise (BEC) attack.

In this type of attack, a phishing email is sent posing as a trusted individual to deceive employees into handing over sensitive information about the company, sending money, or sharing intellectual property.

Research that BEC attacks increased by more than 81% over the past year and 175% over the last two years. They began targeting smaller companies, with a 145% increase in malicious emails targeting SMBs.

How Most BEC Attacks Work

Generally, a BEC attack begins when a cybercriminal gathers intelligence on a target company. During this phase, the criminal will collect publicly available information about company personnel (such as names and titles) from press releases, social media accounts, and website content.

Using this information, the cybercriminal will then attempt to gain access to the company email system with a phishing email or spoof the email account of a key employee.

After gaining email access, the attacker will send targeted, high-pressure emails to employees to trick them into handing over protected information.

This tactic often works because the employee sees the email is from a trusted individual like a colleague or lawyer and doesn’t think twice about handing over information or funds.

Part of the challenge with mitigating these threats is that these suspect emails are hard to spot as phishing scams.

Example of Business Email Compromise

Most attackers use some variation of 5 examples of business email compromise. These include:

1.   Bogus Invoice Schemes

In these scams, a cybercriminal will take over or spoof an employee’s email account authorized to process invoice payments and fund transfers. The attacker will then use this account to ask another employee to transfer the funds or pay an invoice to the fraudster’s account.

2.   CEO fraud

A cybercriminal steals or spoofs an executive’s email account and uses this to trick other users into giving up sensitive information or money. The hacker will email the victim requesting a money transfer.

3.   Account Compromise

One of the most common BEC attacks is where the hacker obtains access before mining the employee’s contact list for company vendors, partners, and suppliers. The attacker will then message these contacts requesting payments be sent to a fake account cosuspectntrolled by the cybercriminal.

4.   Data Theft

Intruders often take over the company email of one or more Human Resources staff so they can send requests for confidential information about employees, partners, and investors. The cybercriminal later uses this data as part of a wider BEC or cyberattack against the company.

How to Prevent BEC Attacks

Security leaders can take some simple steps to prevent BEC from taking place. These include:

Issue regular security awareness training

Provide employees with regular security awareness training and phishing simulations to keep BEC and social engineering risks in mind. You can support this further by creating internal cyber security heroes committed to keeping your organization cyber secure.

Monitor employee awareness

Encourage security leaders and cyber security heroes to monitor employees’ BEC and phishing awareness with regular phishing simulations. Use microlearning modules to educate, train, and change employees’ behavior towards cyber security best practices.

Send ongoing communications about threats

Provide employees with constant communication and campaigns about cyber security, BEC, and social engineering. This includes establishing strong password policies and reminding employees about the risks of emails, URLs, and attachments.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams has become a ubiquitius tool used in business, schools, non-profits, etc.

The toolset in Teams is quite powerful and allows for instant and thoughtful communications with co-workers, management, and third parties that need to get thing done.

Additionally, the ability to easily share data and information allows for transparent communication that takes out the complication of long email threads and misinformation.

The ability to share screens with other to work through problems helps teams to quickly fix issues or collaborate on projects.

Being fans of the product, we will continue to post specific Microsoft videos and training to help show the power of the tool.

This quarter, we recommend some of the following quick training videos to get you acclimated to the various capabilities of Microsoft Teams.

Help IT Help You

To better serve your IT support needs, here are some quick tips to help us provide you the best support possible:

  • Screenshots – Attaching an image of the issue you’re experiencing goes miles in our ability to quickly decipher your problem and speed up the time to resolve your issue.  The Microsoft Snipping tool is a quick and easy way to get that screenshot.  If you click on start and type in Snip, you can open up that tool to take a quick screenshot.

  • Helping a friend? – If you are entering in the ticket for another co-worker, please provide their full name and a phone number or other means of contact.
  • The 5 W’s of Issue Resolution – By providing us some of the 5 W’s below, we can better manage and resolve your issue:
    • Who is having issue?
    • What is the current issue?
    • When did the issue occur?
    • Where is the issue occurring?
    • When is the best time to help you?