Operation Wire Wire: Business Email Compromise Schemes Dismantled by FBI

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a global problem. This week, a significant step forward in tackling this issue was made by federal authorities, who disclosed yesterday that they had been working with partner agencies around the world to dismantle a number of large-scale BEC schemes.

Operation Wire Wire was a joint effort between the FBI, the Department of Homeland security, the Department of the Treasury and the US Postal Inspection service. The operation took the form of a six month sweep that culminated in 74 arrests both in the U.S. and overseas, including 51 domestic arrests and many in Nigeria, Mauritius and Poland.

Incredibly, the operation recovered around $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers. $2.4 million in undisclosed currency was also seized as a result of the sweep.

Both small, medium and large-sized businesses had been defrauded by the international criminal organizations involved in these schemes. Individual citizens were also targeted, including real estate purchasers, law firms, the elderly (who are often targeted for their retirement bank accounts containing life savings), and many others who had “transferred high dollar amounts or sensitive records in the course of business.” 

Business Email Compromise: A Global Problem

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) stated in its latest Internet Crime Report that in 2017 alone, the IC3 received 310,580 total Internet crime complaints, with reported losses totaling $1.4 billion. The Internet crime with the highest reported losses was BEC, of which the IC3 received only 15,690 complaints, yet the adjusted losses resulting from those complaints were over $675 million – comprising almost 50 percent of total Internet-crime-related financial losses for 2017 (see table below).

Source: Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) 2017 annual report

Also known as “cyber-enabled financial fraud,” BEC is a sophisticated type of scam mainly targeting (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Cylance Blog authored by Natasha Rhodes and Cylance Research and Intelligence Team. Read the original post at: https://threatvector.cylance.com/en_us/home/operation-wire-wire-business-email-compromise.html