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Spear Phishing and CEO Fraud

2 min read

Jay Garza

Understanding these common cybercrimes can help protect you

Spear phishing and CEO fraud sounds like a weird new television series about white collar crime and catching walleye. But these are actually sinister cybercrimes that put you and your business at serious risk—and these threats continue to grow. As a part of our continuing series for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, our experts have compiled the information you need to know to protect yourself from these common, and potentially devastating, cybercrimes: phishing scams and CEO fraud.

Here's what you must know about spear phishing and CEO fraud.

Spear Phishing

We've talked before about the risks of phishing, a scam that occurs when a social engineer pretends to be someone you trust—whether it be a brand or an individual, in order to get your valuable information. Spear phishing is a highly-targeted form of phishing, a focused attack on you as an individual, or your company. Spear phishers gather information about you so that they legitimately look and sound like the person or entity you trust. When successful, unsuspecting victims often willingly hand over their information, which can include data that allows these scam artists to log into your accounts, gain access to your finances, or hack your data.

CEO Fraud

Who do your employees trust more than your company's C-suite staff? When a request comes in from company executives, most employees know how important it is to act fast, and deliver whatever is requested. CEO fraudsters exploit this fact. By pretending to be a member of your leadership team, they can often trick employees into giving them information they want to commit fraud, gain access to your network, capture your tax info, or clear out the company checking accounts with nefarious wire transfer requests. The FBI refers to a crime of this type as a business email compromise (BEC), and the stakes are high. The FBI says CEO fraud is a problem that is growing every year, with a total loss of more than $26 billion.

How to protect yourself against spear phishing and CEO fraud

Spear phishing and CEO fraud pose very real threats to businesses of all sizes these days. Unfortunately, even the best tech protection is no match for these scams, as they rely on social engineering. Simply put, protecting yourself from phishing scams and CEO fraud starts with educating your people. Attacks of these types are highly sophisticated and can be tricky even for the experts to identify at times. Your best course of action is to partner with experts who are on top of the latest trends in phishing and other social engineering attacks, and plan for ongoing staff education to ensure everyone is aware and armed with the information they need to protect the company.

Security awareness training is essential

The time is now to protect your company from sophisticated social engineering scams. It only takes one employee, caught unaware, to compromise your company data and finances. Ready to get started? Contact us for more information about customized security awareness training and all of the tools we can help you put into place to protect your organization from spear phishing, CEO fraud, and other cybersecurity threats.


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