SecurityBrief Asia logo
Asia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Abnormal Security finds financial supply chain under threat

New research by Abnormal Security has found a rising trend in financial supply chain compromise as threat actors increasingly impersonate vendors.

The AI-based cloud-native email security platform's research notes that in January, the number of business email compromise (BEC) attacks impersonating external third parties surpassed those impersonating internal employees for the first time and has continued to exceed traditional internal impersonations throughout the year.

Further, in May, external, third-party impersonation accounted for 52% of all BEC attacks seen by Abnormal Security, while internal impersonation fell to 48% of all attacks.

In contrast, internal impersonation made up 60% of all attacks this time last year, signalling a 30% year-over-year increase in third-party impersonation.

Abnormal Security says financial supply chain compromise is a subset of business email compromise, where cybercriminals exploit known or unknown third-party relationships to carry out sophisticated attacks.

It adds that they intend to use the legitimacy of the vendor name to fool an unsuspecting employee into paying a fraudulent invoice, changing billing account details or sharing insight into other customers to target.

Abnormal Security says these tactics are only becoming more of a threat, with one attack the company stopped requesting $2.1 million for a fake invoice.

The report examines four known types of financial supply chain compromise: Vendor email compromise, aging report theft, third-party reconnaissance and blind third-party impersonation, each with varying levels of sophistication.

While a vendor email compromise attack depends on the threat actor understanding business relationships and financial transaction schedules, a blind-third party attack only uses traditional engineering tactics to request payments using pretexts such as impending legal actions.

Abnormal Security's research acknowledges that all four types of attacks have been successful but says that the ones using legitimate compromised accounts are challenging to detect and can have disastrous consequences for the organisations they target.

“While financial supply chain compromise is not new, the increase in using third-party impersonation tactics is worrisome,” Abnormal Security threat intelligence director Crane Hassold says.

“Our threat intelligence team has discovered increasingly sophisticated attacks that are nearly impossible for legacy systems or end users to detect, particularly because they come from real vendor accounts, hijack ongoing conversations, and reference legitimate transactions.

According to the FBI, business email compromise has exposed enterprises to US$43 billion in losses over the past six years, and actual losses continue to grow year-over-year, making up 35% of all losses to cybercrime in 2021 alone.

Abnormal Security says this new trend is only one example of how modern email threats have become more sophisticated and how cybercriminals continue to evolve and pivot their strategies for greater success.

Because employees have become more aware of traditional BEC attacks that depend on executive impersonation, threat actors have successfully begun impersonating other entities, often affording them greater success.

“This shift to financial supply chain attacks is another important milestone in the evolution of threat actors from low-value, low-impact threats like spam to targeted high-value, high-impact attacks,” Hassold adds.

“And because they are successful, we expect that this external impersonation will continue to rise as a percentage of all attacks, ultimately dominating the BEC landscape for the foreseeable future.

Abnormal says this change in attacker tactics is significant because it means the ultimate victims of financial supply chain attacks are not in control of the initial compromise.

This makes it more critical for companies to maintain a strong understanding of their supply chain.

Abnormal Security uses unique AI ​​to precisely baseline good behaviour across internal and external identities and communications to address these issues.

The proprietary VendorBase technology identifies all vendors in a customer's ecosystem to understand individual risk levels, using a federated database across all Abnormal customers.

By identifying when a vendor may have a high risk of fraud, Abnormal Security knows when an email should be examined closer for malicious activity, effectively preventing all forms of financial supply chain compromise.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybersecurity
Continuous attack attempts discovered on Atlassian Confluence zero day
Following a coordinated disclosure of a zero-day vulnerability by Volexity in Atlassian Confluence, attackers went wild to exploit it.
Story image
Malware
Mandiant uncovers malware ecosystem deployed on VMware hypervisors and guest systems
Mandiant research has uncovered a novel malware ecosystem that was found deployed on VMware hypervisors and guest systems by an advanced and suspected China nexus threat actor.
Story image
Microsoft
Yubico research finds concerning trends around authentication security practices
A new global survey from Yubico has found that 59% of employees still rely on usernames and passwords as the primary method to authenticate their accounts.
Story image
Malware
Black Lotus Labs discovers new, multipurpose malware
Black Lotus Labs, the threat intelligence team at Lumen, has discovered a new, rapidly growing, multipurpose malware written in the Go programming language.
Story image
Apple
Jamf shows intent to acquire mobile security firm ZecOps
This acquisition positions Jamf to help IT and security teams strengthen their organisation’s mobile security posture.
Story image
Work from home
Jamf showcases new products to simplify and secure work
At the 13th annual Jamf Nation User Conference, the company shared how its continuous product innovation is helping organisations succeed with Apple.
Story image
Network Management
Fortinet introduces enhanced AIOps across its gateways
FortiAIOps builds on Fortinet's rich history of developing artificial intelligence to deliver actionable network insights for self-optimising management.
Story image
Kaspersky
Cybersecurity loopholes prevalent in South East Asia
In terms of the share of vulnerabilities with publicly available exploits, three countries out of top five are located in Southeast Asia.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud security driving need for deep observability
Gigamon is bringing application and network-level intelligence together to help network, security, and cloud IT operations teams eliminate security blind spots.
Story image
Phishing
Vectra Protect team finds Microsoft Teams vulnerability
The Vectra Protect team identified a post-exploitation opportunity in August, allowing malicious actors to steal valid user credentials from Microsoft Teams.
Story image
Software-as-a-Service
Varonis adds secrets discovery to data classification
The data security firm announces enhancements that detect and remediate overexposed private keys, encryption certificates, API keys, and authentication tokens.
Story image
Malware
Decrease in malware volume, but surge in encrypted malware
The Q2 Internet Security Report found office exploits continue to spread more than any other category of malware.
Story image
Ransomware
Delinea updates DevOps security, remote access more seamless
New enhancements include development support on the most recent Mac computers and improved secrets' management usability through automation.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Fortinet advances AIOps to aid the hybrid workforce
"We’re continuing our commitment to AI innovation by delivering AIOps capabilities across our robust portfolio of enterprise networking technology."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Ordr improves security and management of connected devices
It has implemented more than 80 integrations within the Ordr Data Lake while adding security enhancements to accelerate zero trust segmentation.
AWS Marketplace
Whitepaper: A practical guide for mitigating risk in today’s modern applications
Link image
Story image
Firewall
Forrester names Akamai as web application firewall leader
"We continually monitor and improve our capabilities to defend customers from new threats, while enabling customers to protect evolving attack surfaces."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from SearchInform
Val Novoselova joins us today to to discuss new trends in the information security space, and how SearchInform is adapting to some of the new trends we are seeing.
Story image
Virtual Private Network
95% of organisation rely on VPN as threats continue - report
There is a growing number of VPN-specific security threats and a need for Zero Trust security architecture in enterprise-level organisations.
Story image
Cybersecurity
De-risking the innovation cycle – a modern, real-time approach to security
Many organisations see cybersecurity as an inhibitor of innovation, with burdensome protection measures standing in the way of progress and speed.
Story image
Enterprise
Delinea shares the importance of PAM, partners and security for modern enterprise
Identity-based security is becoming a crucial tool for modern enterprises as they continue to adapt to different working environments.
Story image
IT Training
Six ways to transform your cybersecurity training and influence lasting change
If the goal is to win hearts and minds, formal awareness training can fall short and often doesn’t inspire people to care.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Best practices for industrial cyber resilience
Operational technology (OT) security is gaining more attention than ever before, but sufficient understanding of what it takes to prevent breaches is still lacking amongst many organisations.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Ransomware attacks continue to increase, report finds
Nearly a quarter of businesses have suffered a ransomware attack, with a fifth occurring in the past 12 months.
Story image
Malware
Cybereason delivers nation-state level of protection to enterprises
Cybereason has announced new advancements in Cybereason NGAV that deliver nation-state level protection for organisations of all sizes.
Story image
Cybersecurity
StackHawk launches deeper API security test coverage
Expansion of test coverage includes custom scan discovery, custom test scripts and custom test data for REST APIs.
Story image
Mobile Device Management
How to easily scale your mobile workforce and devices for the peak shopping season
Retailers are under constant pressure to streamline processes and become more efficient while looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction levels.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Macroeconomic headwinds driving security up priority list
Current macroeconomic headwinds are driving security up enterprise’s priority list and reshaping the hardware Security Module market.
Story image
Cloud Security
75% of AU companies had cloud security incident in past year
According to new Venafi research, complexity is due to increase, as companies plan to host more applications in the cloud.
Story image
Secure Code Warrior
Secure Code Warrior announces Coding Labs innovation
Coding Labs mechanisms allow developers to move from learning to applying secure coding knowledge more efficiently, leading to fewer code vulnerabilities.
Story image
Data Protection
Cloudflare brings Data Localisation Suite to more APAC businesses
This allows any business in these countries to service their data locally while benefiting from the speed, security, and scalability of Cloudflare’s global network.
Story image
Threat intelligence
Trellix advances threat intelligence with new research centre
Trellix has announced the establishment of the Trellix Advanced Research Center to advance global threat intelligence.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Employees unsure who to go to to report security incident
A new study shows more than 20% of the untrained global workforce do not know who to contact during a security breach.
Story image
Malware
Kaspersky uncovers new malicious malware NullMixer
Kaspersky researchers have uncovered a new malware stealing users credentials, address, credit card data, cryptocurrencies, and accounts.
Aws Marketplace
Learn how to implement a backup and recovery plan for a new generation of Kubernetes-based modern applications
Link image
Story image
Data Protection
99% of security experts unhappy with tokenisation investment
Cybersecurity experts are looking for a solution that provides the strength of tokenisation while removing the friction that has accompanied it in the past.
Story image
Legacy
Trellix enables greater cyber resiliency with extended XDR platform
"Legacy SIEM technology has failed to modernise security operations. We are confident Trellix XDR fills this critical gap.”
Story image
Cloud
How modern IT architectures are moving beyond network visibility
Dealing with multiple cloud providers makes it difficult to identify security threats and performance bottlenecks and troubleshoot issues.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Test your API Security with Infinite API Scanner
The effectiveness of API scanning technology can mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful programming outcomes, and often enterprises and IT leaders struggle to get it right.
Story image
Edge Security
Security practices for modernising the “spaghetti” of on-premises IT
Many organisations are wondering how to securely modernise their workload, often made up of a “spaghetti” of on-premises applications and management consoles.
Story image
Software-as-a-Service
Enterprises yet to fully commit to cybersecurity - CompTIA
“Digital transformation driven by cloud and mobile adoption requires a new strategic approach to cybersecurity, but this poses significant challenges."