Abnormal Security Data Reveals 200% Monthly Increase in BEC Attacks Focused on Invoice or Payment Fraud

Company also notes a 36% increase in the number of organizations experiencing these attacks.

July 1, 2020

3 Min Read


SAN FRANCISCO – June 29, 2020 -- Abnormal Security, a leader in protecting large enterprises from Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks, today published research data that shows a 200 percent increase in BEC attacks focused on invoice or payment fraud from April to May 2020. This sharp rise continues the trend observed by Abnormal Security throughout the year. According to the Abnormal Security Quarterly BEC Report for Q1 2020, invoice and payment fraud attacks increased more than 75 percent in the first three months of 2020.

During invoice and payment fraud BEC attacks, attackers pose as vendors, suppliers or customers in order to steal money using tactics such as initiating fraudulent wire transfers or hijacking vendor conversations to redirect vendor payments. These types of attacks typically involve much larger dollar amounts compared to other types of BEC attacks since they target business to business transactions. 

In one example, the Abnormal Security team detected and stopped an attempted invoice fraud targeting a telecommunications provider, preventing more than $700,000 in losses. The attacker impersonated a real vendor and methodically engaged numerous employees over the course of two months, eventually convincing the target to change banking details and redirect the payment of a legitimate invoice of over $700,000 to the attacker’s account before Abnormal Security prevented the transaction.

Abnormal Security tracked an increasing number of these attacks, both in the number of organizations targeted and the number of attacks received per organization. For May 2020, the Abnormal Security research team observed:

  • A 200% increase in the average rate of invoice and payment fraud BEC attacks each week

  • A 36% increase in the number of organizations experiencing these attacks

  • Out of all types of BEC attacks, invoice and payment fraud BEC attacks are increasing in popularity. In April, these types of attacks comprised 14% of all BEC attacks, increasing to 17% in May.  

“While all business email compromise attacks can lead to significant financial loss, those focused on invoice and payment fraud can have an even greater financial impact,” said Evan Reiser, CEO and co-founder, Abnormal Security. “Even when an organization has established best-in-class security, third-parties represent a weak link. As these types of attacks continue to climb, it’s more important than ever for companies to implement technology that detects and stops them.”

The Abnormal Security platform protects organizations from invoice and payment fraud BEC attacks using a unique combination of data science and behavior modeling. Abnormal Behavior Technology (ABX) uses a rich set of organization-specific data to uniquely drive the Abnormal Identity Model, the Abnormal Relationship Graph and Abnormal Content Analysis. 

To learn more about the Abnormal Security platform and how it stops invoice and payment fraud BEC attacks , please visit https://abnormalsecurity.com/solutions-invoice-fraud/.

About Abnormal Security

The Abnormal Security cloud email security platform protects enterprises from targeted email attacks. Powered by Abnormal Behavior Technology (ABX), the platform combines the Abnormal Identity Model, the Abnormal Relationship Graph and Abnormal Content Analysis to stop attacks that lead to account takeover, financial damage and organizational mistrust. Through one-click, API-based Office 365 and G Suite integration, Abnormal sets up in minutes, requires no configuration and does not impact email flow. Backed by Greylock Partners, Abnormal Security is based in San Francisco, CA. www.abnormalsecurity.com

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