Organizations need to re-examine their approach to BEC protection

BEC attacks are growing year over year and are projected to be twice as high as the threat of phishing in general, according to IRONSCALES and Osterman Research.

BEC attacks threat

93% of organizations experienced one or more of the BEC attack variants in the previous 12 months, with 62% facing three or more attack variants.

Moreover, 43.3% of respondents from large enterprises (≥10,000 employees) expect these BEC attacks to increase over the next 12 months. The report also reveals that finance employees and C-level executives are subject to the most frequent BEC attacks. However, roughly half of all groups reported experiencing BEC attacks daily, weekly, or monthly.

Other key findings include:

Fake invoices, data theft, and account takeover are the most common types of BEC attacks

One in five organizations have experienced these types of BEC attacks in the past 12 months. Two in three organizations have faced three or more types of BEC attacks over this time. Data theft attacks occur with the highest frequency.

More organizations should be using AI-powered anti-phishing tools to protect against BEC attacks

The technology with the most to offer for detecting and remediating BEC attacks that SEGs miss or classify as safe, is AI-powered anti-phishing tools, although only 55% of organizations currently use such tools.

Threat actors are utilizing new channels to launch BEC attacks

A significant percentage of organizations report frequently encountering newer precursors to BEC attacks, including fraudulent SMS messages (36%), social media connection requests (28%), and phone calls (22%). Organizations with strong BEC protections that work only in email will be blind to the use of these new attack channels.

Most organizations fail to utilize the most effective training methods

Most respondents find multiple educational methods valuable for detecting BEC attacks, with phishing simulations as the top priority (74%). However, confidence in detection remains low, below 50% for all groups, and only 35% on average for typical employees.

“The findings of this report should leave no doubt as to the scope and severity of today’s business email compromise problem,” said Audian Paxson, Director of Technical Product Marketing at IRONSCALES.

“And yet, we find that many organizations remain ill-equipped to defend against this rising threat. The continued reliance on legacy email security solutions, such as SEGs, places organizations at significant risk. This report drives home the need for organizations to re-examine their approach to BEC security, by incorporating AI-enabled solutions that work in concert with regular phishing simulation testing and security awareness training. Employees should be part of the solution, not a liability,” concluded Paxson.


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