According to the global Mimecast, the state of email security report 2019 showed that “in the previous 12 months alone, 67percent of organisations said they saw the volume of impersonation attacks increase, and 73percent of impersonation attack victims experienced a direct resulting loss”.
In addition, a recently issued public service announcement from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation states that, “between May 2018 and July 2019, there was a 100percent increase in identified global exposed losses” due to BEC scams. These stats are alarming, as South Africa has also seen an increase in this type of scam, in line with the global trends.
“Digital technology, combined with social engineering which exploits our human tendency to be compliant when faced with a directive from an authority figure, enables criminals to perpetuate this type of crime,” says Sabric acting chief executive Susan Potgieter.
Criminals use information obtained from company websites and/or other digital platforms to identify the details of chief executives, financial directors and other key senior individuals. They impersonate these individuals by sending electronic requests via email or text message to junior staff in the accounting or finance function, requesting that an urgent payment be made to a specific beneficiary.