BEC scammers impersonate CEOs
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned this week that US organizations and individuals are being increasingly targeted in BEC (business email compromise) attacks on virtual meeting platforms.
Business Email Compromise/Email Account Compromise (BEC/EAC) is a sophisticated scam that targets both entities and individuals who perform legitimate transfer-of-funds requests
Cybercriminals are targeting organizations of any size and individuals, in BEC attack scenarios attackers pose as someone that the targets trust in, such as business partners, CEO, executives, and service providers.
Scammers use to compromise legitimate business or personal email accounts through different means, such as social engineering or computer intrusion to conduct unauthorized transfers of funds.
Crooks started using virtual meeting platforms due to the popularity they have reached during the pandemic.
CEO impersonation attacks
The Public Service Announcement published by FBI warns of a new technique adopted by scammers that are using virtual meeting platforms to provide instructions to the victims to send unauthorized transfers of funds to fraudulent accounts.
“Between 2019 through 2021, the FBI IC3 has received an increase of BEC complaints involving the use of virtual meeting platforms to instruct victims to send unauthorized transfers of funds to fraudulent accounts. A virtual meeting platform can be defined as a type of collaboration technique used by individuals around the world to share information via audio, video conferencing, screen sharing and webinars.” reads the FBI’s PSA.
Crooks are using the virtual meeting platforms for different purposes, including impersonating CEOs in virtual meetings and infiltrating meetings to steal sensitive and business information.
Below are some of the examples provided by the FBI regarding the use of virtual meeting platforms by crooks:
Compromising an employer or financial director’s email, such as a CEO or CFO, and requesting employees to participate in a virtual meeting platform where the criminal will insert a still picture of the CEO with no audio, or “deep fake1” audio, and claim their video/audio is not properly working. They then proceed to instruct employees to initiate transfers of funds via the virtual meeting platform chat or in a follow-up email.Compromising employee emails to insert themselves in workplace meetings via virtual meeting platforms to collect information on a business’s day-to-day operations.Compromising an employer’s email, such as the CEO, and sending spoofed emails to employees instructing them to initiate transfers of funds, as the CEO claims to be occupied in a virtual meeting and unable to initiate a transfer of funds via their own computer.Below are recommendations provided by the FBI:
Confirm the use of outside virtual meeting platforms not normally utilized in your internal office setting.Use secondary channels or two-factor authentication to verify requests for changes in account information.Ensure the URL in emails is associated with the business/individual it claims to be from.Be alert to hyperlinks that may contain misspellings of the actual domain name.Refrain from supplying login credentials or PII of any sort via email. Be aware that many emails requesting your personal information may appear to be legitimate.Verify the email address used to send emails, especially when using a mobile or handheld device, by ensuring the sender’s address appears to match who it is coming from.Ensure the settings in employees’ computers are enabled to allow full email extensions to be viewed.Monitor your personal financial accounts on a regular basis for irregularities, such as missing deposits.Follow me on Twitter: @securityaffairs and Facebook
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