CEO Fraud

CEO fraud is a cybersecurity threat in which attackers impersonate a company’s high-ranking execs to trick clients, employees, and vendors and make them complicit in fraudulent activities.

CEO fraud is often sophisticated and features fake emails that look very legitimate to lure targets into divulging critical information. It is also very dangerous because if successful, it can lead to loss of millions and can cost the business its reputation.

This cyber attack requires extensive research about the intended victim, involving learning and preparation. The attackers arm themselves with enough knowledge to create a convincing set of emails capable of tricking even longtime employees.

These emails come with a bunch of different and urgent instructions. Some are demanding a money transfer, others to share sensitive company information or even alter payment details to reroute payment to the attacker instead. These emails from the attacker employ a psychological trick that forces immediate action, either through the wording or due to the assumed sender’s ranking or authority.

CEO fraud, like other social engineering scams, exploits human flaws to find a way to circumvent otherwise airtight security measures. The attackers are careful and calculated and use advanced strategies including emails that closely resemble legit ones used by the company.

How to guard against CEO fraud

  • Be wary of any emails requesting personal information.
  • Avoid clicking any links or opening unnamed attachments from unknown sources.
  • Always make double sure the unusual email is coming from who it says it is, usually by asking them directly. 
  • Make use of secure passwords, multiple layers of security, and email filters.
  • Inform the IT security team the moment you get any suspicious emails.