A newly reported and unusually sophisticated Business Email Compromise (BEC) operation may serve as a model for other cybercriminals looking to up their social engineering game and cash in on a lucrative illegal pastime.

In a press release, blog post and detailed dossier (accessible via the blog post), researchers from Agari who discovered the operation -- dubbed Cosmic Lynx -- claim that this is the first-ever reported case of a Russian cybercriminal outfit running an organized BEC phishing scam.

Historically, the preponderance of BEC scams are based out of Nigeria, Agari reports. But other organized cybercrime gangs based around the globe may begin to follow Cosmic Lynx's lead because email-based social engineering scams are simpler and less expensive to execute than malware-based criminal activity, and can yield more immediate financial dividends.

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