Tag Archives: proofpoint

Safeguarding Your Business: Understanding and Preventing Business Email Compromise (BEC)

In today’s digital age, businesses face a myriad of cybersecurity threats, and one of the most prevalent and damaging is Business Email Compromise (BEC). BEC attacks have become increasingly sophisticated, targeting businesses of all sizes and industries. Understanding the causes, techniques, and prevention methods of BEC is crucial for safeguarding your organization’s sensitive information and financial assets.

Causes of Business Email Compromise (BEC)

BEC attacks often exploit vulnerabilities within an organization’s email systems, processes, or human behavior. Some common causes include:

  1. Phishing Attacks: Cybercriminals send convincing emails impersonating trusted individuals or organizations, tricking employees into disclosing sensitive information or performing fraudulent transactions.
  2. Weak Authentication: Inadequate email security measures, such as weak passwords or lack of multi-factor authentication, make it easier for hackers to gain unauthorized access to email accounts.
  3. Social Engineering: Attackers research their targets and craft personalized messages to deceive employees into taking actions that compromise security, such as wire transfers or divulging login credentials.
  4. Lack of Employee Training: Insufficient cybersecurity awareness training leaves employees ill-equipped to recognize and respond to suspicious emails or requests, making them more susceptible to BEC scams.

Techniques Used in BEC Attacks

BEC attackers employ various tactics to achieve their objectives, including:

  1. Email Spoofing: Falsifying email headers to make messages appear as though they originate from a trusted source, such as a company executive or business partner.
  2. Domain Impersonation: Registering domains similar to legitimate ones (e.g., replacing letters with visually similar characters) to impersonate trusted entities and deceive recipients.
  3. Invoice Manipulation: Intercepting legitimate invoices and modifying payment details to redirect funds to attacker-controlled accounts.
  4. CEO Fraud: Impersonating high-ranking executives to request urgent wire transfers or sensitive information from lower-level employees.

How to Spot BEC Attacks

Recognizing the signs of a BEC attack is crucial for mitigating its impact. Some common indicators include:

  1. Unsolicited Requests for Sensitive Information: Be wary of emails requesting confidential information, especially if they come from unfamiliar or suspicious sources.
  2. Urgent or Unusual Requests: Exercise caution when receiving requests for immediate action or unusual transactions, particularly if they deviate from established procedures.
  3. Inconsistencies in Email Addresses or Content: Check for subtle discrepancies in sender email addresses, domain names, or language that may indicate impersonation or spoofing.
  4. Unusual Changes in Payment Instructions: Verify any unexpected changes to payment details or instructions through trusted channels before proceeding with transactions.

Preventing BEC Attacks

Mitigating the risk of BEC requires a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity. Here are some best practices for prevention:

  1. Employee Training and Awareness: Educate employees about BEC risks, common tactics, and how to identify and report suspicious emails or requests.
  2. Implement Email Authentication Protocols: Utilize technologies such as DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) to detect and prevent email spoofing and domain impersonation.
  3. Enforce Strong Authentication Measures: Require employees to use complex passwords and implement multi-factor authentication to secure email accounts against unauthorized access.
  4. Establish Verification Procedures: Implement robust verification processes for validating payment requests, particularly for large transactions or changes to payment details.

How EvL Consulting with Proofpoint Essentials Can Help

Partnering with a trusted cybersecurity provider like EvL Consulting, leveraging solutions such as Proofpoint Essentials, can significantly enhance your organization’s defense against BEC attacks. Proofpoint Essentials offers advanced email security features, including:

  1. Email Authentication: Protect against email spoofing and domain impersonation using DMARC authentication to validate email senders’ identities.
  2. Threat Intelligence: Utilize real-time threat intelligence to detect and block malicious emails, including those associated with BEC campaigns.
  3. Content Filtering: Employ advanced content filtering to identify and quarantine suspicious emails containing phishing attempts or fraudulent content.
  4. User Training and Awareness: Access comprehensive training resources to educate employees on cybersecurity best practices and empower them to recognize and report BEC threats effectively.

By combining industry-leading technology with expert guidance from EvL Consulting, small and medium businesses can fortify their defenses against BEC attacks and safeguard their critical assets and sensitive information.

In conclusion, the threat of Business Email Compromise is a persistent and evolving challenge for organizations worldwide. By understanding the causes, techniques, and prevention strategies associated with BEC attacks, businesses can proactively mitigate risks and protect themselves from financial losses and reputational damage. Partnering with trusted cybersecurity experts and leveraging robust email security solutions is essential for staying ahead of cyber threats and maintaining a secure and resilient business environment.

Why URL link defense is so important

Why URL link defense is so important

Receiving phising emails is scary enough. Is it actually a genuine email? Is that link pointing to something to something that actually does what the email tells me?

Unexpected emails may show up at any given moment in time. The timing itself is often an indicator of something fishy. (pun intended).

I received an email from a Chinese shipping company telling me that I have 6 outstanding emails which I need to review on their portal. That already is very peculiar as I’ve never dealt with that company but given the fact I had ordered something on Ebay from a chinese seller it could’ve been a genuine request.

My emails go via Proofpoint and they already flagged the message a potentially malicious and kept it quarantined for me to review first. I released the email on purpose so it ended up in my mail box. The links that are created in those emails are modified by Proofpoint so that clicks on those links will be checked and if found malicious, the access will be blocked.

I used a separate, isolated, computer to click on that link and see what happened. As expected, the url defense mechanism of Proofpoint successfully blocked the page.

This also works a-synchronously. What do I mean by that??
If an email is sent and goes through the Proofpoint system, it may be that this site has not been checked yet or has been checked as being a non-problematic site. Many malicious actors use this technique to bypass the training algorithms of existing spam checkers and security solutions. Only after a while, they will load malicious software on these sites. As any email will not have been classified as spam or malicious, they will then still sit in your inbox with that same link that has now become a dangerous gateway to hackers and scammers.

As Proofpoint has changed the link to first pass their systems, they can always flag the site as malicious and still block it, as happened in my case above, even though it did not block or quarantine the email in the first place.

This is a very powerful security mechanism to have in place and I would recommend this to enable at all times.

Contact us for more info.

Kind regards

Erwin van Londen

Avoid endangering your customers?

Getting emails which contain all sorts of malware, viruses and other nasty content is bad enough as it is. It significantly hinders productivity, can infect many parts of the organisation and will, in most cases, be a very costly exercise to recover from, both financially and from a reputational aspect.

Now imagine that this has a flow-on effect on your customers, where malware is propagating itself via email to your customers by harvesting contact details from various parts of your infrastructure. Whether this is a contact list in your Outlook, a spreadsheet that got exported from your CRM solution or any other source this software can get its hands on.

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Cyber Hacks – Prevention Versus Cure

Getting sick is a really nasty experience. Being forced to stay in bed because you cannot move an arm and a leg, your nose dripping constantly and a headache bouncing in your skull all day is the opposite of a pleasant experience. When you then take into account, you could’ve prevented this by just taking out a flu-shot at the beginning of autumn, you still wonder why you didn’t. No time? Did not want to fork out $30,00 as cost of living is hard enough?
Not being able to work and missing opportunities for your business is far more costly, and regaining customer confidence when it comes to business continuity can be a real challenge.

Extrapolate this to a cyber hack where your customer data is threatened to be exposed to the outside world and criminals are able to reach into the deepest of pockets of your customers by extortion methods, identity theft etc.

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