Business Email Compromise (BEC) , Cybercrime , Cybercrime as-a-service

Total Business Email Compromise Losses Trump Ransomware

Wendi Whitmore, Head of Palo Alto Networks' Unit 42, Details Latest Attack Trends
Wendi Whitmore, senior vice president and head of Unit 42, Palo Alto Networks

Ransomware continues to pummel organizations, with the average ransom payment reaching $925,000 so far this year, but the aggregate financial impact of business email compromise - BEC- attacks is even worse, says Wendi Whitmore, head of Unit 42 at Palo Alto Networks.

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In fact, in terms of financial costs, BEC attacks are having "the most significant business impact of so many of the cybercrimes we're seeing," she says.

In a video interview with Information Security Media Group at RSA Conference 2022, Whitmore also discusses:

  • Threat intelligence teardown and Unit 42's mission;
  • Recent ransomware trends;
  • How BEC campaigns continue to evolve.

Whitmore leads Palo Alto Networks' Unit 42 , which includes former Crypsis security consultants and members of the original Palo Alto Networks threat researcher group. The combined team helps organizations tackle the most complex cyberthreats - from ransomware to state-sponsored espionage. Whitmore joined Palo Alto Networks from IBM, where she led global X-Force incident response, threat intelligence, incident command and cyber range teams. She previously held executive-level positions in the professional services organizations of CrowdStrike and Mandiant, and she began her career as a special agent conducting computer crime investigations with the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

About the Author

Mathew J. Schwartz

Mathew J. Schwartz

Executive Editor, DataBreachToday & Europe, ISMG

Schwartz is an award-winning journalist with two decades of experience in magazines, newspapers and electronic media. He has covered the information security and privacy sector throughout his career. Before joining Information Security Media Group in 2014, where he now serves as the executive editor, DataBreachToday and for European news coverage, Schwartz was the information security beat reporter for InformationWeek and a frequent contributor to DarkReading, among other publications. He lives in Scotland.

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