FBI crackdown “business email compromise” BEC fraud campaigns, 74 suspects arrested

After more than six months of unremitting investigation, the U.S. authorities announced the arrest of 74 people this Monday, which is part of their international law enforcement actions against business email compromise (BEC) campaigns.

The law enforcement action code “WireWire”, the United States Department of Homeland Security, the Ministry of Finance, the United States Postal Service and other departments are involved in the investigation. The arrests of suspects are all over the world. Of these, 42 were arrested in the United States, 29 were arrested in Nigeria, and the remaining three were arrested in Canada, Mauritius and Poland. The law enforcement authorities seized 2.4 million U.S. dollars and recovered about 14 million U.S. dollars in fraudulent wire transfers. According to a survey by the Ministry of Justice, 23 of them were accused of laundering money in the southern district of Florida and obtained at least US$10 million from the BEC scam.

BEC fraud campaigns

In the past few years, the number of BEC frauds has increased significantly, and professional organisations predict that the growth in 2018 (the amount of fraud) will exceed $9 billion. Simplicity and effectiveness make BEC one of the most popular methods of attack. Such scams are often used by people who lack awareness of security and have little knowledge of network security.

According to a report released by Trend Micro, the BEC scam has become increasingly complex, and it is usually targeted at companies that cooperate with foreign suppliers or companies and make regular wire transfers. BEC’s e-mail account compromise (EAC) variant targets individuals who regularly perform wire transfers. The destructive impact of BEC fraud will spread from the individual business to the global economy.