CEO Fraud: How Scammers Are Impersonating Executives And How To Protect Yourself

One of the latest scams to steal your money, your identity and your confidence is CEO fraud.

CEO fraud, also known as business email compromise (BEC), is one of the most common forms of business email fraud.

It’s a scam where criminals impersonate an executive at your company and request that you wire money or transfer funds to an account under their control. CEO Fraud is a huge problem and it only takes seconds for someone to intercept an email and make it look legitimate.



What Is CEO Fraud and How Does It Work?


An online scam wherein an attacker impersonates a C-level executive within an organization with the intent of accessing financial information or sensitive personal information is known as CEO fraud. Typically, the attacker seeks to transfer you money to a bank account owned by the attacker or to share confidential human resources information.


Relying on current technology, these campaigns seek to lure victims into divulging vital data such as credit card numbers or bank account numbers via email or conducting fraudulent wire transfers.


In this highly targeted form of attack, malicious actors research potential victims and their businesses to learn about who they are targeting, giving them the means they need to develop highly convincing – and often successful – attack campaigns. The fraudulent emails sent in these campaigns encourage recipients to take steps – either to share their credentials.


What are CEO fraud attack methods?


Having a complete understanding of the different attack vectors for this kind of criminal action is crucial in preventing it. This is how the bad guys do it.


1. Phishing


Hackers send huge quantities of phishing email messages to countless individuals. Banks, credit card providers, delivery services, law enforcement, and the IRS are among the email providers that are covered by fake email attacks. If you click a link in a phishing email, you may be taken to a web page that appears to be your bank or credit card company or PayPal. That website will ask you for your personal information, like account numbers or login credentials, including your username and password.


2. Spear Phishing


The cybercriminal has either found out about the industry or has utilized information from social networks to con users. A Spear phishing email is likely to just reach a single person or a small group of banking users. Some type of personalization might be included in the email, for example, the recipient’s name, or the title of the company.


3. Executive Whaling


Cyber criminals target executives and administrators, often it being to siphon money from accounts or steal confidential information, in case of whaling attack. The ideal candidate must be familiar with the company and highborn executives must have an eye for details.


4. Social Engineering


Within a security context, social engineering refers to using psychological manipulation to manipulate people into divulging confidential information or granting access to financial resources. Social engineering may include mining information from social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and others.


How to Prevent CEO Fraud?


Appropriate policies block the attacker to some extent before the attack does any damage to your finances. Find here 5 things you can do now to avert this so-called CEO Scam to a certain degree.


  1. Through training programs on cybersecurity, educate your employees regarding potential threats and potential disclosures of sensitive information. Employees must be vigilant about responding to requests for money transfers or for any sensitive information.
  2. Ensure that proper documentation and approval take place for all wire transfers.  Determine if the whole team that is in charge of wire transfers has a separation of duty in relation to the initiator and approver of wire transfers.
  3. Inform employees to check for look-a-like domain names that are variations of your company name. 
  4. Add multi factor authentication to all key apps (including financial systems) so users can verify they are who they claim to be (e.g., when initiating a wire transfer).
  5. If your company is affected by BEC, report the incident to your local authorities or FBI.



To summarize, CEO fraud can cost a company millions. CEOs and CFOs face a wide range of threats. But like any computer, CEO fraud can be thwarted. By staying vigilant and using multiple layers of security, companies can minimize the impact of CEO fraud.

Learn How To Protect Yourself From Sophisticated Phishing Email Scams

In today’s digital age, phishing emails are one of the most common ways malware and viruses are spread. While most people are familiar with phishing scams, phishing emails are a little different than other types of scams. Not only do phishing emails interact with users through spam mail or phishing emails sent to their inbox, but they also often carry malicious attachments or links that direct users to sites infected with malware or viruses. Phishing emails are spread through spam emails and spam messages.

Look out for fraudulent requests for these online services and strive to generate safe protection on your Google account and Gmail.



What phishing is

A phishing email seems to be sent directly from your bank and asks for account information for use in fraudulent transactions.

Phishing messages or content may show up.

    • Give your own or account information.
  • Tell you to click links or download files.
  • Impersonate a reputable organization, like your bank, a social media site you use, or your workplace.
  • Impersonate a complete stranger, like a coworker or family member.
  • Look exactly like a message from the organization or person you trust.


Avoid phishing messages & content

To help you avoid con artists and unscrupulous offers, follow these tips.


1. Pay attention to warnings from Google

Whenever Google sends you a notification letter, it will be displayed in the lock screen of your phone. Do not tap on any pop-ups or read hyperlinked words in the notification. Wait until all alerts are cleared before you open links or acknowledge attachments.


2. Never respond to requests for private info

Don’t provide personal information via email, text message, or phone call. Save yourself your budgetary information, such as your earnings and finances.

  • Username and password, including password modifications.
  • Social Security or government identification number.
  • Bank account numbers of entities.
  • Personal identification numbers (PIN).
  • Credit card card numbers.
  • This page enumerates a birthday.
  • Other information, such as your mother’s maiden name, is confidential.


3. Don’t enter your password after clicking a link in a message

Google won’t send you any emails if you have A Google account and are signed in.

If a website’s address ends with “.pt” and he asks your Google, gmail, or other email account password, simply go to the site you want to use.

Is a potential security alarm that is false in myaccount.google.com notifications a possibility? From there, I can subscribe to a view of recent security activity for my Google account.


4. Beware of messages that sound urgent or too good to be true

Scammers take advantage of emotions to manipulate you. 

  • Beware of urgent-sounding messages

For example, be wary of urgent-sounding emails that seem to come from somewhere else.

  • Your friend or relative might forward you a message, so be careful of messages that seem random or have a lot of info that came from easy online sources. To establish a connection with your recipient, use the most common means of communication.
  • Phishing scams often take the form of errand boys, tax collectors, law enforcement officials, or health-care providers. To verify that the request is useful, call the numbers or websites provided by your target.
  • Beware of messages that seem too good to be true

Scam messages should be thoroughly examined and avoided. For example, do not be fooled by scams.

  • Don’t send cash to unverified addresses or release personal info without knowing who is contacting you.
  • Romance scams. Never send money or personal info to anyone you meet online.
  • Do not send money or private information to someone who claims you won a contest or sweepstakes.


5. Stop & think before you click

Scammers often attempt to push unwanted software via emails, social media, or texts. Avoid clicking links from unknown or untrustworthy sources.



Report phishing emails

Note that a phishing email either contains hidden details that might be harmful, or possibly contains a scheme. We may highlight or hide it, and could also have it moved to Spam or quarantined if it reveals incorrect information.

In conclusion, Don’t open any email that asks to send money to someone or asks you to click on a link to update your account information. You are about to be hacked.

Phishing Scams Revolving Around Covid-19 Vaccines: How To Remain Secure Against Such Attacks

Phishing Scams Revolving Around Covid-19 Vaccines: How To Remain Secure Against Such Attacks

Attempts by malicious actors to infiltrate organizations and individuals’ personal space through a wide variety of phishing exercises are widespread. From crude attempts at garnering the unwitting user’s confidence to overcoming large organizations’ anti-phishing filters, malicious actors have been at the top of their game. There has been a surge in data breach attempts, as pointed out by numerous cyber intelligence units worldwide.

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Why Companies Need Cloud-based Phishing Protection Software Now More Than Ever

Why Companies Need Cloud-based Phishing Protection Software Now More Than Ever

Coronavirus has changed our way of doing business, at least for the time being. And of all the changes it has brought about, the greatest impact is the dramatic increase in the number of remote workers.

One of the least discussed consequences of this mass migration to remote work is how the workers, who used to be safely ensconced in the organization’s network, are now left out there on their own. And home networks are rarely as well protected as corporate networks.

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Using Microsoft’s OneDrive? Be Afraid, be Very Afraid.

Using Microsoft’s OneDrive? Be Afraid, be Very Afraid.

Cloud-based storage is a wonderful thing. Being able to store your files and retrieve them from anywhere boosts productivity. It should come as no surprise then that Microsoft entered the cloud-based storage arena back in 2007. It should also come as no surprise that Microsoft’s cloud-storage product, called OneDrive, is the target of and vehicle for, phishing attacks. Afterall, Microsoft is the second favorite target of phishing attacks.

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Protecting Against Phishing is Even Harder With Invisible Links

Protecting Against Phishing is Even Harder With Invisible Links

Employees who have been trained to look out for phishing emails know not to click on links in suspicious emails. But what if the email tricks them into clicking on a link they didn’t intend to click on because it’s invisible?

According to a presentation by the security education firm KnowBe4, one of the newest forms of email compromise is a type of clickjacking which incorporates an invisible link (using the opacity setting in CSS). The link is instead replaced by a “bothersome” graphic element that’s made to look like a small hair or a speck of dust just like this:

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Recovering from a Phishing Attack

Recovering from a Phishing Attack

So you tried your best to avoid a phishing attack but one day your laptop woke up with the flu bug. Criminals use phishing attacks to try to get at your personal information. You receive a legitimate-looking email with a link or attachment attached and you take the bait. After the initial shock wears off what do you do?

First and foremost, disconnect your device immediately to get offline. The criminal could be in the process of installing ransomware on your computer. So if you have a wire connection, simply unplug the internet cable. If your device is wireless, disconnect it from the wifi network.

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