Fighting cybercrime: Old tools for new threats

Fighting cybercrime: Old tools for new threats

Digital communications and transactions have vastly increased the speed and convenience of business. But this digitization has also paved the way for whole new types of threats and risks that many companies struggle to contain. In particular, middle market companies that use wire transfers to buy and sell goods directly with overseas customers and suppliers are being targeted by hackers at an alarming rate, and many are incurring serious financial losses.

Whether called “man-in-the-middle” attacks, or “man-in-the-email” attacks or simply “business email compromise” (BEC), the tactic is essentially the same. A criminal manages to hack into a company’s email, monitors its correspondence with buyers and sellers, and when a payment is due will send a “spoof” email—designed to look like it’s come from the actual counterparty—telling the company to redirect its payment into some account the criminal controls. These spoof emails look so genuine they are all too often successful.

By Thomas Stapleton

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