Trustwave Unveils New Offerings to Maximize Value of Microsoft Security Investments. Learn More

Trustwave Unveils New Offerings to Maximize Value of Microsoft Security Investments. Learn More

Managed Detection & Response

Eliminate active threats with 24/7 threat detection, investigation, and response.

Co-Managed SOC (SIEM)

Maximize your SIEM investment, stop alert fatigue, and enhance your team with hybrid security operations support.

Advisory & Diagnostics

Advance your cybersecurity program and get expert guidance where you need it most.

Penetration Testing

Test your physical locations and IT infrastructure to shore up weaknesses before exploitation.

Database Security

Prevent unauthorized access and exceed compliance requirements.

Email Security

Stop email threats others miss and secure your organization against the #1 ransomware attack vector.

Digital Forensics & Incident Response

Prepare for the inevitable with 24/7 global breach response in-region and available on-site.

Firewall & Technology Management

Mitigate risk of a cyberattack with 24/7 incident and health monitoring and the latest threat intelligence.

Offensive Security
Solutions to maximize your security ROI
Microsoft Exchange Server Attacks
Stay protected against emerging threats
Rapidly Secure New Environments
Security for rapid response situations
Securing the Cloud
Safely navigate and stay protected
Securing the IoT Landscape
Test, monitor and secure network objects
Why Trustwave
About Us
Awards and Accolades
Trustwave SpiderLabs Team
Trustwave Fusion Security Operations Platform
Trustwave Security Colony
Technology Alliance Partners
Key alliances who align and support our ecosystem of security offerings
Trustwave PartnerOne Program
Join forces with Trustwave to protect against the most advance cybersecurity threats
SpiderLabs Blog

COVID-19 Themed BEC Scams

Business email compromise (BEC) also known as CEO fraud has undoubtedly become the biggest Internet scam of all time, claiming losses of over USD $26 billion since 2013. In such attacks, a fraudster impersonates an executive to trick individuals in the organization into sending money or sensitive information. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has wreaked havoc, locking down countries and borders and bringing global economies to a halt leading to unprecedented financial losses.

Email scammers are well known to quickly adapt to major global news themes and use them to circulate eye-catchy spam lures. BEC scammers are no different, they recently started to integrate Corona (COVID-19) pandemic themed messages in their email lures. We observed these messages targeting corporate executives and employees.

Here is an account of some Corona (COVID-19) themed BEC messages that we recently observed and detected. Please note that all names and email addresses used in the BEC examples are fictional to protect true identities.

BEC-COVID Gift card scam:

We have blogged about the BEC gift card scams in the past. This is a COVID-19 themed variant of the same.

CharlieFigure 1: iTunes or Walmart Gift card demanded by scammer due to Corona self-isolation


BEC-COVID Wire Transfer Scam:

We have blogged about BEC wire transfer scams in the past. This is a COVID-19 themed variant of the same.

TonystarkFigure 2: A shameless BEC scam message from an impersonated CEO, ordering corporate accountants to set up a wire transfer for COVID-19 medical support.


PepperpottsFigure 3: BEC wire scam message from impersonated CEO with a prayer for employee's safety during the pandemic and demand to make transactions against invoice.


BEC-COVID Payroll Scam:

We have blogged about BEC Payroll scams in the past. Here is a COVID-19 variant of the same.

DimitrivFigure 4: BEC payroll scam message demanding payroll bank account change due to the pandemic.


ClarkkentFigure 5: Another BEC payroll scam message, this time with a prayer about the pandemic in the postscript of the message.


BEC-COVID Assistance in a confidential legal matter:

We have blogged about such scams in the past. This is a COVID-19 variant of the same.

Bruce-willFigure 6: BEC message from impersonated CEO asking an employee to comply with a confidential legal matter discretely by providing necessary information to the company lawyer



Scammers will use any possible means to lure victims over email. The fact that a company email is associated with a real corporate user, who could be prone to trickery, makes it a lucrative target. BEC scammers recently capitalized on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and combined it with BEC scam impersonation techniques, as a perfect combo to lure and trick users into sending money or gift cards to the scammers.

Trustwave Secure Email Gateway detects such BEC scams. We encourage customers to ensure that they have properly configured the BEC Filter layers in the product for maximum protection against this menace.

Latest SpiderLabs Blogs

Secure Access Service Edge: Another Multi-Tool for the SOC

Over the years, several security defense architectures have merged into a single solution. Endpoint detection tools can perform sophisticated detections and correlations that used to require a...

Read More

Search & Spoof: Abuse of Windows Search to Redirect to Malware

Trustwave SpiderLabs has detected a sophisticated malware campaign that leverages the Windows search functionality embedded in HTML code to deploy malware. We found the threat actors utilizing a...

Read More

The Sentinel’s Watch: Building a Security Reporting Framework

Imagine being on shift as the guard of a fortress. Your job is to identify threats as they approach the perimeter. The more methods you have for detecting those threats, the better your chances of...

Read More