2018 Security Review: Looking at Old and New Threats

2018 Security Review: Looking at Old and New Threats

Cybersecurity is something all companies big and small need to pay attention to as more attacks are becoming increasingly more popular.  With company data being a corner stone of a business, it is no wonder attacks are becoming more frequent, if they can take your data then they can profit, its as simple as that.  Therefore, taking the time to review what has happened in the past is becoming more crucial in finding ways to make sure that you don’t fall victim to attacks that already have known fixes.  So, let’s look at some stats in 2018 from Trend Micro and see what the kind of attacks were done.

Messaging threats

Business emails are now a very important messaging tool within an organization or to external organizations and clients.  However, this has made it an attractive platform for cybercriminals as well.  In 2018, there was an increase of use of various messaging threats, there was an 82% increase in phising URLs compared to 2017.  There were also new modes of phising attacks done recently which made use of chats, SMS and other communication applications.

Year-on-year comparison of blocked access to phising URLs by unique client IP address statistics 2017 and 2018

Besides phising, another form of messaging attacks that was widely used in 2018 was the business email compromise (BEC).  A BEC attack usually is done by either initiating or intercepting communication and to mislead employees to release or transfer funds to their own account.  This form of attack has a low success rate, however when it does succeed, the financial loss could be massive.

Top positions of business email addresses compromised pie chart


Ransomware on the other hand has seen a steady decline in 2018.  From the over 600,000 ransomware cases in 2017, now down to around 50,000 in 2018.  This can be attributed to more solutions readily available in the market that are keeping the threats at bay.

statistics of ransomware-related threads and new ransomware families in 2017 and 2018

Cryptocurrency mining on the other hand has seen a new peak in 2018, with over 1.3 million detections, which is a 237 percent growth from the previous year.  There have been ample of ways that cryptocurrency-mining attacks have been perpetuated throughout the year, some examples are via penetration of ad platforms, popup ads, malicious browser extensions and many more.

cryptomining detections in 2017 and 2018

To get a more in-depth security review, you may visit the original Trend Micro Security Review here.  If you have any inquiries on how to keep your business safe, please contact us at 893-9515 and we would be happy to help!

Security Tips: Business Email Compromise (BEC) Schemes

Security Tips: Business Email Compromise (BEC) Schemes

Business Email Compromise (BEC) Schemes

In the past few years, millions of dollars have been lost to fraudsters and scammers.  However, not all have been lost through malware attacks such as ransomware.  Business email compromise (BEC) schemes are sophisticated attacks focused mostly on companies who do wireless transfers frequently.  The FBI have estimated that nearly $750 million dollars have been lost to this type of schemes and affected more than 7,000 people between October 2013 and August 2015.  Below are a few versions of the scheme:


The Bogus Invoice Scheme

Referred to as “The Bogus Invoice Scheme”, “The Supplier Swindle”, and “Invoice Modification Scheme”. This scam is usually done by using the name of established partners of the business, they impersonate being an employee of the established partner while asking for wire funds for invoice payments to their fraudulent account by using a spoofed email, telephone, or facsimile.

CEO Fraud

Also referred to as “CEO Fraud”, “Business Executive Scam”, “Masquerading”, and “Financial Industry Wire Frauds”. The scammers impersonate high-level executives (CFO, CEO, CTO, etc.), lawyers, or other types of legal representatives while urging the victim that they are handling confidential and time-sensitive matters then pressuring the victim into wire transferring funds to a separate account which they control.

Account Compromise

In this scam, an email account of an employee is hacked and then used to make requests for invoice payments to fraudster-controlled bank accounts. Messages are sent to multiple vendors identified from the employee’s contact list.

Data Theft

This scam usually involves compromising an email of a role-specific employees (usually HR) in the victim’s company, then using the said email to gather identifiable information of other employees and executives which is later used as a jump-off point for more damaging BEC attacks to the company later on.

Below are some quick prevention tips on how you can avoid these types of attacks:

Prevention tips

  • Carefully scrutinize all emails. Be wary of irregular emails that are sent from C-suite executives, as they are used to trick employees into acting with urgency. Review emails that request transfer of funds to determine if the requests are irregular.
  • Educate and train employees. While employees are a company’s biggest asset, they’re also usually its weakest link when it comes to security. Commit to training employees according to the company’s best practices. Remind them that adhering to company policies is one thing, but developing good security habits is another.
  • Verify any changes in vendor payment location by using a secondary sign-off by company personnel.
  • Stay updated on your customers’ habits including the details, and reasons behind payments.
  • Confirm requests for transfer of funds when using phone verification as part of two-factor authentication, use known familiar numbers, not the details provided in the email requests.


To learn more about BEC attacks, you can read a more in-depth article from our partner’s, Trend Micro, informative article here.  If you have inquiries that you would like answered about this topic, you can also contact us at 893-9515 and we will be happy to help!