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A client in the manufacturing industry, equipped with comprehensive cybersecurity measures such as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on email and workstations, Zero Trust application and storage controls, Security Operations Center (SOC), Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) systems with antivirus, and an AI Spam filter, fell victim to a sophisticated business email account takeover (BEATO). This incident involved the compromise of a trusted vendor's email account, manipulated to authorize fraudulent transactions.


The attack exploited the trusted relationship between the client and their vendor when the bad actor infiltrated the vendor billing contact's email, going so far as to setting up a look-alike domain for our client to make the vendor believe they were communicating with our client the whole time. This impersonated communication was able to bypass existing security measures like the AI spam filter, which didn't flag the communications as suspicious since they are a trusted contact. This breach highlighted significant vulnerabilities in detecting and preventing fraud conducted through established and trusted communication channels.


Our response strategy was immediate and multifaceted, emphasizing the need for swift communication controls and reinforced security protocols.

  1. Cease All Compromised Communications:
    • Advised the client to immediately stop all email communications with the vendor to prevent further exposure to the attack.
    • Directed client employees to halt all communications to the vendor, ensuring no sensitive information or financial commitments could be manipulated.
  2. Secure Alternative Communication Channels:
    • Established secure and verified communication methods outside of the compromised email systems to maintain necessary operations without increasing the risk of further breaches.
  3. Engagement with Vendor and Their MSP:
    • Engaged with vendor stakeholders and their Managed Service Provider (MSP) to understand the protections they had in place and the enhancements they were implementing as a result of the breach. This helped in assessing the breadth of the security lapse and coordinating a more robust defense strategy.
  4. Legal and Insurance Reporting:
    • Encouraged the client to file a report with the FBI and contact their cyber insurance provider to explore recovery options and strengthen the investigative response.
  5. Enhanced Employee Training and Awareness:
    • Conducted urgent cybersecurity awareness sessions for the client’s employees, focusing on recognizing suspicious email indicators and the critical importance of verifying unusual payment instructions.
  6. Review and Reinforcement of Security Measures:
    • Reviewed and enhanced the client’s existing security protocols, integrating advanced threat detection and response mechanisms to prevent recurrence of such incidents.


  • Effective Incident Containment: Immediate cessation of all communications with the vendor contained the incident, preventing further fraudulent activities.
  • Strengthened Security Posture: Both the client and the vendor fortified their cybersecurity defenses, markedly reducing future breach risks.
  • Heightened Security Awareness: The incident significantly increased security awareness across the company, emphasizing the need for continuous vigilance and training.


This case study illustrates the essential role of rapid and coordinated responses in managing sophisticated cyber threats. By immediately halting compromised communications and shifting to verified channels, the client mitigated immediate risks and implemented strategic long-term security enhancements. Engaging comprehensively with the vendor and their MSP was crucial in understanding the full scope of the breach and effectively bolstering defenses to prevent future incidents. This proactive and collaborative approach not only contained the incident but also equipped the client with a stronger understanding of the gaps in their approval processes for changing banking information. They also now have more confidence that the cybersecurity solutions we provide are effective in preventing a breach.

Note: The specific details of the client have been omitted for confidentialty.

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