Cyberattacks in general are on the rise, and social engineering attacks in particular. Email scams like phishing are prevalent, and one form, CEO impersonation, is particularly dangerous.
CEO impersonation scams prey on human nature, emotion, and workplace culture. They appear to be from the highest authority in the company, putting pressure on employees to follow through on the request.
Because of this manipulation, they are one of the most successful cybercrimes out there. However, they can also be prevented by the same humans they target. To protect yourself and your business, you need to learn as much as you can about this type of fraudulent activity.
What is CEO Impersonation?
CEO impersonation is a form of phishing fraud called whaling. A fake email is tailored to appear from the CEO and is sent to an employee at the company, often someone within the finance department.
The message usually asks for a large sum of money to be paid out to a third party, or even the CEO. It conveys a feeling of urgency that is intended to fluster the recipient and keep them from looking too closely at the request.
Such whaling scams have been successful against both large and small businesses. They are often attempted when the CEO is out of office, making it more difficult to verify the request.
The Threat to Your Company
CEO impersonation emails are among the hardest for spam filters to catch. And when they get through, they can fool even the most alert employees. Successful scams cost businesses money, time, and personal information
The implication of the security breach could be far-reaching and devastating. Stolen company information may also threaten employees and customers, leaving them vulnerable to further theft.
How to Protect Your Business
There are ways you can protect yourself from these whaling scams. The first tactic is to implement a strong spam filter on company emails. The second is to educate employees on how to spot fraudulent phishing attempts.
There are many different training programs available that are designed to teach business personnel how to recognize and respond to phishing scams. This training is essential, as phishing is a type of social engineering attack, depending on human error for success.
Phishing emails typically convey a sense of urgency, which can add to an already stressful workday for someone. Encouraging employees to slow down and confirm questionable requests will pay off for security, even if it means more intrusions for the CEO.
Confirming the authenticity of the email should be done in person or over the phone, in case the company email has been hacked.
You Can Win the Fight
The fight to protect your business from CEO impersonation fraud is a real one. The key thing to remember is that you are not powerless. The scam relies on your lack of knowledge to be successful. But by learning more about phishing, whaling, and other such scams, you are one step closer to defeating them
If you want to train your employees about phishing, we can help! As part of our cybersecurity services, we can provide security awareness training and phishing simulation for your company. Contact us today to get started.