Microsoft warns of a rising number of business email compromise cyberattacks

The level of sophistication and tactics of threat actors specialising in business email compromise (BEC) have increased.

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Microsoft has released a new Cyber Signals report entitled ‘The Confidence Game’, which provides a comprehensive threat landscape analysis from April 2022 to April 2023. The report reveals that the company’s systems are currently detecting and investigating an average of 156,000 Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks per day, a significant increase of 38% over the last four years.

Attackers are increasingly using platforms such as BulletProftLink to orchestrate large-scale malicious email campaigns, according to Microsoft’s findings. BulletProftLink provides cybercriminals with an end-to-end service, including templates, hosting and automated services, which makes it easy for cybercriminals to launch BEC attacks. 

Attackers can disguise their origin and make their activities difficult to track and attribute by purchasing IP addresses that match the victim’s location. This tactic has been seen in Asia and Eastern European countries in particular. Microsoft also warned that the use of residential IP addresses to evade detection could increase as the cybercrime economy specialises and consolidates in this area. 

In response to the increase in threats, Microsoft recommends a number of proactive measures, including maximising email security settings, enabling unverified sender notifications and blocking suspicious identities, as well as stronger authentication and investing in staff training to be aware of the warning signs of BEC attacks.