Business email compromise: new guidance to protect your organisation

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Business email compromise: new guidance to protect your organisation

Business email compromise (BEC) occurs when a criminal accesses a work email account in order to trick someone into transferring money, or to steal valuable (or sensitive) data. For this reason, BEC attacks are often directed at senior staff, or those that can authorise financial transactions.

Unfortunately, BEC attacks (which are a type of phishing attack) are on the increase. A recent government report on cyber attacks revealed that in 2023, 84% of businesses and 83% of charities have experienced a phishing attack in the past 12 months.

The goods news is that the NCSC has recently published new guidance on BEC that includes practical steps that will reduce the likelihood of your organisation suffering from a BEC attack. It is specifically aimed at smaller organisations who might not have the resources (or expertise) to implement the NCSC’s existing guidance on phishing attacks in full.

BEC attacks can be difficult to detect. Criminals use sneaky methods that aim to pressure victims into acting quickly. Our guidance details how reducing your digital footprint, helping your staff to detect phishing emails, applying the principle of ‘least privilege’ and implementing 2-step verification can all protect against  BEC attacks. We have also included steps to take if you think your email account has already been compromised, or if you have been tricked into making a fraudulent payment.

Whilst implementing the steps detailed in the guidance will reduce the likelihood of BEC attacks, it does not make your organisation impervious to all cyber threats. We recommend that you also plan for compromises and practice responding to attacks in a safe environment using NCSC’s Exercise in a Box.

Amelia H
Economy and Society Team, NCSC

Original Source: ncsc[.]gov[.]uk

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