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Defending Against the Rise of Phishing and BEC Attacks

Businesses face an ever-evolving threat from cyber attackers, particularly through channels like email. The sophistication and frequency of phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks have notably increased. Despite utilizing traditional security protocols like Real-time Blackhole Lists (RBLs), greylisting, and other email filtering techniques, an alarming 80% are vulnerable to such attacks.

The Ineffectiveness of Traditional Email Security Measures

Phishing schemes, where attackers pose as trustworthy sources to extract sensitive information, have evolved to be quite sophisticated. These tactics, along with BEC scams that involve compromised or fake emails to elicit unauthorized financial transactions or confidential data, are successfully bypassing old-school defenses like RBLs and greylisting. These traditional methods are proving ineffective as they cannot swiftly adapt to the advanced techniques employed by today’s cybercriminals.

Why RBLs and Greylisting Fall Short

Traditionally, RBLs would block emails from blacklisted IP addresses, but attackers now easily sidestep this by either shifting IPs or using new, unblacklisted ones. Greylisting, which temporarily holds emails from unknown senders, also fails because it does not effectively filter out malicious content once the email passes initial checks.

An article from TechRadar notes that RBLs and greylisting also pose significant potential risks to impact legitimate email communication. “When an email address is compromised to launch attacks, the organization or the entire service might end up on a blocklist. Thousands of users may end up having their emails flagged as spam, causing massive personal and professional communication issues as collateral damage of spam attacks. As such, RBLs and greylists aren’t just failing to catch criminal activity, they risk making the service worse for legitimate users.”

Advanced Security Strategies

The advent of AI is a double-edged sword. It can streamline, automate, and improve cyber defense, but it also empowers threat actors to streamline, automate, and improve their attacks. The TechRadar article stresses, “Criminals have been quick to deploy generative AI’s ability to rapidly create convincing text, images, and even voices to launch an array of scams for which the public and businesses are not adequately prepared. In email security, the eternal arms race continues, with fraudulent emails now able to “clone” the communication style of members of staff to trick colleagues, or spoof business communications to scam customers.”

Given this reality, combined with the revelation that 80% of organizations rely on email security measures that are vulnerable and easily circumvented, it's crucial to reevaluate and enhance email security frameworks.

GTG.Online employs the use of out-of-band monitoring, which verifies suspicious activities through alternative communication channels, adding an extra layer of security. Additionally, GTG.Online focuses on non-repudiation measures to ensure that neither the sender nor recipient can deny a message’s validity, which is particularly useful against BEC attacks where fraudsters impersonate high-ranking officials.

Adapting to Evolving Cyber Threats

As cyber threats continue to evolve, so must our defensive strategies.

Relying on outdated methods leaves organizations exposed not only to data breaches but also to significant financial losses. The imperative for businesses is clear: invest in proactive and advanced security measures to protect against the sophisticated phishing and BEC threats present in today’s digital landscape.

Contact GTG.Online to learn how you can end Business Email Compromise (BEC).

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