Business Email Compromise Doubled in 2018, Topping the FBI’s List of Internet Crimes

hacker_screensDespite the massive uptick in just about every cybercrime category, good old-fashioned fraud via email phishing and social engineering dominate as the threat to be most concerned about.

The goal for a cybercriminal is simple – do your worst that makes the most by exerting the least amount of time and energy. And, at the end of the day, the amount of money a cybercrime can generate is king.

According to 2018 data from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), business email compromise (BEC, also known as CEO Fraud) took in nearly $1.3B in reported victim losses. This is just about twice the $675 million reported BEC losses in the 2017 IC3 report.

The FBI defines BEC as:

“…a scam targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers and/or businesses regularly performing wire transfer payments. These sophisticated scams are carried out by fraudsters compromising email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to conduct unauthorized transfer of funds.”

While BEC sits at number 5 by victim count with a total of a little more than 20K reported victims, that number represents a 25% increase in victims year-over-year. This means cybercriminals are getting better at their craft – only obtaining a fraction more “customers” but doubling the revenue is a model any business would love to adopt!

With the stakes being so high – and the obvious success rates climbing – it’s imperative that organizations put those users with any connection to the transfer of funds through Security Awareness Training. This continual education prepares them to avoid becoming a victim of phishing and social engineering attacks designed to trick them into either helping to install malware or engaging in a scam that will eventually seek to inappropriately transfer company funds.


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Topics: CEO Fraud

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