How to avoid a data breach

Don’t overlook the vulnerability of executives

Lance Spitzner, director, SANS Security Awareness

The vulnerability of senior executives to cyber-attacks is often overlooked. Chief executives are privy to information that’s not widely known within their organisation, making them attractive targets to criminals. Consequently, they can often be imbued with trust, authority and power within the organisation, which can potentially make them a significant liability to the company.

Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks are when a cyber criminal adopts the identity of a senior executive and sends emails to staff members in an attempt to trick them into doing something that they shouldn’t.

With information about businesses and their employees publicly available on company websites, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and more, these attacks can be very effective.

Trying to avoid this involves enforcing security policies and procedures, authenticating all fund transfers with the finance department (or all data shares with the legal department),
and making

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