May 27


How to Handle Remote Risk with Business Email Compromise

If your business has recently gone entirely remote or hybrid, the way you communicate in the workplace has probably changed. As key conversations move to email, it’s important to protect your team against attacks like business email compromise scams.


Business email compromise scams are cybercrimes where an attacker sends an employee of an organization an email that seems to come from someone they know, like a coworker or manager, making a reasonable request. The attacker then uses that access to defraud the company.


Here is what you need to know to protect your company from business email compromise.


Understand How Scammers Access Your Company

To defraud your company, scammers need to identify an entry point in the form of a vulnerable employee. Attackers use search engines and professional networks like LinkedIn to access lists of company email addresses they can target for their email compromise scams. They usually seek out people who work in the finance department, but sometimes they’ll send out mass emails across a team and target anyone who responds.

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Cybercriminals have several ways of persuading you to reveal sensitive information. In many cases, attackers will impersonate your CEO, HR person, or even the company attorney using emails and domains with small changes, like additional letters or punctuation marks. Experienced scammers are good at pressuring their targets to respond right away, making them more likely to overlook an incorrect email address.


Remote work increases the risk of email scams because employees are more likely to make urgent requests via email and less likely to verify requests with coworkers from home. It’s a good idea to understand these strategies so your organization can keep an eye out for suspicious messages.

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Take Steps to Protect Your Information

While remote work has increased the risks of falling victim to fraud, there are several simple steps your company can take to protect itself from a business email compromise scheme.


First, make sure you know your company’s guidelines for transactions, and that those guidelines are widely accessible to every employee. If everyone on the team is on the same page about transaction protocols, it’ll be easier to identify any red flags that suggest a potential attack.


If possible, consider adopting two-factor or multi-factor identification. These tools protect resources by requiring users to verify their identity through several steps. They can prevent scammers from accessing email addresses and other information they get in business email compromise scams.

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Avoid Email Scams by Taking Your Time

The most impactful step you can take to protect your company from business email compromise is to slow down. Approach all your email exchanges with care. Read all email addresses closely, including their domain names. Pay attention to your coworkers’ tone in their emails; if they sound a bit off, double-check their identities, especially if they make urgent requests. Never download attachments from unfamiliar email addresses without verification. Finally, take caution when doing billing, invoicing, or other transactions, especially if one or both parties involved are remote.


The Bottom Line

Cybercriminals count on their victims’ missing details, especially when their targets are working remotely. By establishing clear protocols, communicating openly with your team, and approaching your work with care, you can stop the cybercriminals in their tracks and prevent business email compromise scams.

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