Cyber attacks and ' spear phishing ' are the focus of many articles. We recently breezed Targeted Cyber Attacks Are Rapidly Increasing in 2019 by James L Pray, on www.BestLawyers.com. This provided a clear overview of a specific danger when you've had your credentials hacked.
Following is an excerpt from Mr. Pray's article:
"The most common attack is launched after the hacker researches potential corporate targets so that a corporate executive will be more likely to click on a link in an email, which will either load malware or steal the executive’s Office 365 log-in credentials. This is known as a spear-phishing attack. The attacking email will likely be from a familiar customer or contact, and will contain information that would fit with the target’s business. Once the hacker obtains those credentials, the hacker modifies the Outlook rules so that their emails are not seen by the actual company officer. The hacker is then free to launch very sophisticated invoice fraud attacks—not only on the company itself but also on both its customers and suppliers. The hacker will impersonate someone with authority to submit fake invoices using the company’s own email system and order the company’s accounting department to wire funds to bank accounts that the hacker controls. The hacker may also send fake invoices to the company’s clients with faked wire instructions. The hacker may also steal vendor and customer information so that the hacker can target those companies for a second round of attacks."
Gone are the days where spoof emails are easily spotted - - sophisticated cyber criminals of today aren't looking to play, but rather are looking to win. The new wave of emails are sent from a corporate account and will have no signs of outside influence; no misspellings or false extensions. An email will arrive from your legitimate corporate account including a legitimate copy of your corporate invoice(s) instructing your employees, vendors, and customers to transmit bank funds into a hacker controlled account.
Once hacked, the intrusion can spread from target to customer / target to vendor, exploiting system and personnel vulnerabilities to corporate detriment. A strong culture of system protections will help prevent hacks. Employee education, cross checks, system maintenance and securities, requiring multi-step authentication for wiring funds, and systems safety policies will all work to reduce the likelihood of a hack, and help catch one early-on.