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FBI Warns of BEC Scams Abusing Virtual Meeting Platforms

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) this week issued an alert regarding the increasing use of virtual meeting platforms to conduct business email compromise (BEC) and email account compromise (EAC) scams.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) this week issued an alert regarding the increasing use of virtual meeting platforms to conduct business email compromise (BEC) and email account compromise (EAC) scams.

As part of such schemes, attackers target employees who can make or authorize payments, using social engineering to trick them into transferring funds into fraudulent accounts.

Typically, such schemes are carried out over email (either business or personal email addresses), but over the past three years the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has seen an increase in complaints related to BEC attacks carried out over virtual meeting platforms.

Facilitating collaboration between remote teams and increasingly popular due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced many to work remotely, such platforms allow users to engage in video conferencing, screen sharing, and more.

To conduct BEC scams over virtual meeting platforms, cybercriminals first compromise the email address of an employer or financial director (including CEO or CFO), and then instruct employees to participate in an online meeting.

[READ: Nigerian Authorities Arrest 11 Members of Prolific BEC Fraud Group]

In order to hide their identity, the attacker claims that their video/audio is not working, inserts a still picture of the hacked account’s owner instead, and instructs the employees to transfer funds to an account the attacker controls.

In other cases, the attackers compromise an employee’s email to access internal virtual meetings and collect information about the company’s day-to-day operations.

The attackers may also send spoofed emails from a compromised employer’s account, asking an employee to initiate the transfer of funds, claiming that the CEO is engaged in a virtual meeting and cannot make the transfer on their own.

To stay protected, organizations should always confirm the use of outside virtual platforms, employ two-factor authentication and other means to verify any request for modifying account information, check email addresses and URLs for signs of spoofing, and refrain from sharing credentials or personal information via email.

Related: Microsoft Disrupts Large-Scale BEC Campaign

Related: Introducing DAIC: A Suggested System for Preventing BEC Fraud

Related: Two Nigerians Sentenced to Prison in U.S. for Role in BEC Scams

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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