Business email compromise (BEC) attacks have been on the rise in recent years, with losses due to such scams growing significantly each year. The FBI, along with other federal agencies, have issued a joint advisory that warns of a new target for cybercriminals: the food sector. The advisory reveals that organizations in the food industry are now being targeted using BEC attacks that aim to steal entire shipments of food, costing companies hundreds of thousands of dollars. The criminals behind these schemes may also repackage the stolen goods and resell them, risking contamination and violating food safety regulations.
BEC Attacks Targeting the Food Industry
BEC attacks are now targeting the food sector, with cybercriminals using tactics such as spoofing email addresses and domains or using compromised email accounts belonging to legitimate companies to order large shipments of food products that never get paid. The value of the stolen food reaches, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars. Criminals may also repackage the stolen goods, risking contamination and violating food safety regulations.
Measures to Defend Against BEC Fraud Attempts and Product Theft
Businesses in the food sector that might become the target of such attacks can take measures to defend themselves against BEC fraud attempts and product theft. These measures include training employees on how to identify fraudulent email addresses and domains, implementing user training and phishing exercises to raise awareness about the risks of suspicious links and attachments, and conducting web searches for your company name to identify fraudulent websites that may be used to impersonate you in a scam.
The Rising Cost of BEC Scams
The FBI warns that losses due to BEC scams continue to grow each year, with a 65% increase in identified global exposed losses recorded between July 2019 and December 2021. From June 2016 to July 2019, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received complaints about more than 241,000 domestic and international incidents, with a total exposed dollar loss of over $43.3 billion. In 2021 alone, victims have reported roughly $2.4 billion in losses, according to 19,954 complaints linked to BEC attacks and targeting individuals and businesses.
BEC attacks targeting the food sector represent a new challenge for companies operating in the industry. Cybercriminals are using increasingly sophisticated tactics to steal entire shipments of food, costing companies hundreds of thousands of dollars. To defend against BEC fraud attempts and product theft, businesses in the food sector should take measures to train their employees and raise awareness of the risks of suspicious links and attachments. The rising cost of BEC scams highlights the need for increased vigilance and cybersecurity measures across all industries.