To answer this question, we’ve listed two examples below that our company experienced recently:
An Optistar client experienced a mailbox breach before implementing our Security Awareness Training and Identity Management Solution with Multifactor Authentication, a common way to protect this from happening. In this case, the hacker accessed the mailbox and sent a phishing email to all of their contacts and related contacts in Outlook.
Thousands of phishing emails were sent from a legitimate mailbox. The rate of success for a hacker dramatically increases when they are able to send a phishing email from a REAL email address to a list of KNOWN contacts. Included in the list of contacts that were sent this phishing email was our client’s TOP CUSTOMER. That customer emailed our client within an hour of receiving the Phish to cancel their Master Services Agreement (MSA). True Story. Luckily, we followed a well-defined Incident Response Plan and reassured our client’s customer that we were immediately implementing a robust Cyber Security Awareness training program and Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) on everyone’s mailbox and they did NOT cancel.
Another common technique for hackers is to gain unauthorized access to your mailbox and analyze WHO you do business with as well as HOW you conduct it. For instance, we had a client that received an email from someone that they did business with often. There was an invoice and payment form attached which looked exactly like what they had been accustomed to receiving. A wire transfer of a little more than $300K was initiated only to find out that the email was really from an email address that was ONE LETTER off from the real email address, a very common but duplicitous trick. This email was so well crafted that it duped even someone who was quite astute. How was this achieved? It started by the hacker gaining access to someone’s mailbox so they could perfectly design that sneaky email. Again, security awareness training can help prevent getting duped not to mention the supplier’s mailbox from getting hacked in the first place.