REPORT: Fraudsters Target Executives with New Email Scams

Share Article

New report from PhishLabs details new “Business Email Compromise” phishing scams.

PhishLabs RAID Intel Report
Over the last year, nearly every tactic used in BEC scams has changed.

PhishLabs, the leading provider of 24/7 cybersecurity services that protect against the exploitation of people, announces that new “Business Email Compromise” attacks have been observed targeting top executives in companies large and small. To help organizations protect against these new scams, the company has issued a detailed report that shares examples and new indicators that can be used to identify the malicious emails.

The full business email compromise report is available at

Business Email Compromise, or BEC, refers to email-based attacks in which the fraudster poses as a top executive to trick those in charge of a targeted company’s finances into sending large payments to a bank account controlled by the fraudster.

Since PhishLabs first reported on BEC attacks in May 2014, there has been a sharp rise in the attack volume. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint center, losses due to BEC attacks have exceeded $1.2 billion since 2013.

Over the last year, nearly every tactic used in BEC scams has changed. Fraudsters have adapted with new techniques that make the attacks more convincing and the losses more severe. Also, current BEC campaigns are targeting smaller, faster-growing firms in addition to larger organizations that have historically been attacked.

“The target list has grown. Scammers are now hitting executives at smaller organizations where exceptions to payment processes are more common,” according to Don Jackson, Director of Threat Intelligence at PhishLabs. “A year ago, the focus was primarily on larger organizations with extensive supplier networks.”

Organizations should take the following steps to reduce the risk of falling victim to BEC attacks:

  • Limit the amount of information about employees on their website, particularly those with control over financial functions.
  • Disable “helpful” email server features that allow emails with incorrect addresses to be delivered to the right email inbox (such as “Firstname.Lastname” matching).
  • Implement email authentication mechanisms like SPF and DMARC to better detect email “spoofing.”
  • Tune email spam filters to look for the indicators mentioned in the report.
  • Train your employees to recognize BEC scams and report them to the appropriate internal IT and security staff.

Additionally, organizations should “play along” when they recognize a BEC attacks in order to obtain information on the bank accounts used in the scams. Fraudsters rely on these accounts to cash out stolen funds and they can be used by authorities to investigate and shut down the scam operations.

About PhishLabs
PhishLabs is the leading provider of 24/7 cybersecurity services that protect against threats that exploit people. The company is trusted by top organizations worldwide, including 4 of the 5 largest U.S. financial institutions. PhishLabs combines proprietary technology, intelligence, and human expertise to rapidly detect, analyze, and stop targeted cyberattacks before they impact organizations. Additionally, the company provides robust threat intelligence that strengthens existing cyber defenses and optimizes threat prevention. Leading organizations partner with PhishLabs to more effectively disrupt targeted cyberattacks, prevent data breaches, and reduce online fraud.

To learn more about PhishLabs, visit or email info[at]phishlabs[dot]com.

Twitter @PhishLabs | LinkedIn | Google+

Media inquiries:
Stacy Shelley
+1 843.329.7824

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Stacy Shelley, VP of Marketing
+1 843-628-3368 Ext: 713
Email >
Follow >
Follow us on
Visit website