What would you do if you received a confidential email from your CEO asking you to wire money to an attorney as part of an acquisition? This is what happened to Texas manufacturing firm, Ameriforge Group Inc., whose director of accounting wired $480,000 to the Agricultural Bank of China, before realizing that it was an email scam. Unfortunately, these kinds of highly targeted phishing scams, known as Business Email Compromise (BEC), are becoming more and more common. Sophisticated attackers are investing time gathering information about a company and getting to know its processes so they can target specific individuals with seemingly authentic emails designed to trick them into handing over confidential information or funds. These compromises of business email are also costly. The FBI estimates that cybercriminals stole nearly $750 million in such scams from more than 7,000 US victims between October 2013 and August 2015.
More worryingly, the continuous evolution of methods that are used for business email compromise means that business insurance or even cyber insurance might not provide the required cover. Ameriforge Group Inc is now suing its cyber insurance provider for refusing to cover its losses. This once again serves a reminder for why it’s a worthwhile investment to get cyber insurance, but it’s not the entire solution. More must be done to leverage available technologies, complete internal training and use open standards like DMARC to identify and block fake emails that look like they come from a trusted domain.
To read more about the Ameriforge situation: Firm Sues Cyber Insurer Over $480k Loss.