SecurityFraud1000px
AUGUST 2020

Email is a method of communication almost everyone depends on for important updates from colleagues, vendors and partners. While a useful tool for the right types of communication, dependence on email for financial communications potentially puts your firm at risk.

What is invoice fraud?

Invoice fraud, also known as business email compromise or invoice spoofing, is one of the most common types of cyberattacks and the problem is growing exponentially. Businesses of all sizes are seeing this type of fraud impact their bottom line including tech giants Google and Facebook, who were scammed out of $123 million last year. In 2019, businesses lost billions to this type of scam; and the money is typically not recoverable nor covered by insurance.

The most common form of invoice fraud involves a criminal posing as a vendor or partner of a company and generating fraudulent invoices for payment. The criminal may also use a real invoice from a vendor, but request that the payment be redirected to their bank.

As awareness grows and organizations put new security measures in place, cyber criminals are growing more sophisticated in their attacks. They often monitor regular communications and payment schedules between vendors and businesses so it is easier to run scams undetected.

In addition to the risk of a fraudulent invoice, other risks to emailing invoices include:

  1. Non-encrypted emails can be intercepted and provide sensitive data to someone who shouldn’t see it.
  2. The sender has no way of knowing who opened the email, when it was opened, or even if the email address was correct, unless it bounces back. This can delay communications.
  3. Invoices can be modified, and the changes are not immediately tracked.

How has COVID-19 impacted business risks?

With many teams operating remotely, teams are changing their typical online behavior, often making companies more vulnerable. Employees may have unprotected internet access, are more inclined to use their personal computers, and are relying more on their mobile devices. This can cause security breaches and make employees more susceptible.

If you’ve made a cybersecurity mistake before, you’re not alone! At least 25 percent of employees have clicked on a phishing link or in some other way made a security misstep. This number increases when employees are stressed or fatigued. Businesses can help by implementing processes to address  employee risk.

According to research conducted by EY and The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), 60 percent of organizations that needed to rollout new technology to support their remote workforce skipped or accelerated their typical security review process.

How can the Aquilon Network help reduce cyber risk?

For energy settlement teams, invoice security risk can be drastically reduced with the Aquilon Network. The Aquilon Network is an energy settlement technology application that improves workflows across energy settlement teams, while also decreasing cyber risk.  Our secure (SOC1) compliant platform allows counterparties to safely transmit invoices, while the application also validates counterparty invoice amounts and communications.

We have incorporated security measures that include:

  1. Sophisticated endpoint protection software
  2. Weekly vulnerability tests and reports
  3. Annual penetration tests that comply with the strict security requirements of some of the largest global financial institutions
  4. Access is restricted to authorized users
  5. All transactions, documents, communications, and invoices are delivered and stored on an encrypted platform

Other ways we reduce risk

While reducing invoice fraud is an important part of what we do, our comprehensive solution is much more than a standard invoice portal. Other ways we reduce operational risks include:

  1. Reduce the opportunity for error: Automated invoice reconciliation instantly identifies discrepancies, nearly eliminating human error in the process.
  2. Validate cash before it’s exchanged: Our technology compares the digital version of your invoice versus your counterparty's with perfect accuracy, down to the penny.
  3. Reduce audit risk: All invoices and accompanying communications about the invoices are securely stored in the Aquilon Network. This is another way we can reduce your dependence on insecure email.

Are you Ready to Increase Your Settlement Security?

Schedule a demo with our team to learn more.

Contributors

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Don Kobetsky

Don has been with Aquilon working in the IT Department in various roles for the past 8 years and has been leading that area as the CTO since November 2019. He’s an avid commuter cyclist and bikes to work year-round. Outside of work Don is a book collector with a library of over 4000 first editions and does bookbinding and box making for rare books.

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Michael Renna

Michael joined Aquilon 3 years ago. Michael and brings consulting experience and passion for building strong teams in order to create tangible solutions for customers. Michael is responsible for Business Development, Account Management, and Onboarding new customers here at Aquilon as our Director of Customer Success. Michael enjoys spending his free time with his family of two small children and loving wife.