BEC Attacks Accounted for More Than One in Ten Social Engineering Attacks in 2023

Cloud Database Increases Risk of Social EngineeringA new report from Barracuda has found that email conversation hijacking attacks have risen by 70% since 2022.

Additionally, business email compromise (BEC) attacks accounted for 10.6% of social engineering attacks in 2023, compared to 8% in 2022 and 9% in 2021.

These attacks require more effort on the part of attackers, but they typically have a much higher payout than other forms of social engineering.

“Compared to all social engineering emails analyzed in this report, attacks that leveraged Gmail were significantly more skewed toward BEC,” the report says.

“Just over 50% of Gmail attacks were used for BEC attacks, compared to 10.6% of all malicious emails. From gift card scams to various financial transactions, these attacks often exploit urgency or authority in order to trick victims into acting quickly, precluding the type of end-user scrutiny needed to recognize that something is amiss.”

The report also found that one in twenty inboxes received QR code phishing attacks in 2023. These attacks are more likely to bypass email security filters.

“QR code attacks are difficult to detect using traditional email filtering methods,” Barracuda says. “There is no embedded link or malicious attachment to scan. Email filtering is not designed to follow a QR code to its destination and scan for malicious content. QR codes sent via email also take victims away from corporate machines and force them to use a personal device, such as a phone or iPad, which isn’t protected by corporate security software.”

The researchers emphasize that employee awareness is an important layer of defense against phishing and other social engineering attacks.

“Educate users about the latest email threats by making it a part of security awareness training,” Barracuda says. “Ensure employees can recognize these attacks, understand their fraudulent nature, and know how to report them. Use phishing simulation for emails and voicemail to train users to identify cyberattacks, test the effectiveness of your training, and evaluate the users most vulnerable to attacks.”

KnowBe4 empowers your workforce to make smarter security decisions every day. Over 65,000 organizations worldwide trust the KnowBe4 platform to strengthen their security culture and reduce human risk.

Prnewswire has the story.

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