Apr 09, 2016 05:30 AM EDT

Cyber Thieves Stole $2.3 Billion Via Email Wire-Transfer Scams

A total of $2.3 billion from legitimate businesses were stolen by fast-scammers who are able to impersonate company executives in emails and order employees to transfer funds to accounts controlled by cyber criminals according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

These scams known as "business email compromise" have amassed these billions of dollars from October 2013 to February of this year, said the FBI in an alert the agency issued this week. The FBI based its report on reports supplied by law enforcement agencies around the world.

There were approximately 17,642 cases of businesses of every size scattered across the globe in about 79 countries, said the FBI alert, posted on the Phoenix bureau website of the agency.

According to a survey of corporate executives, about 90 percent of them admit that they are not able to read a cyber security report. That means they have no capability of handling a major cyber-attack.

More worrisome, according to Dave Damato, is that 40 percent of these executives also admit that they don't feel responsible for the consequences of hackings. Damato is the chief security officer at Tanium, the company that commissioned the survey with the help of Nasdaq.

"I think the most shocking statistic was really the fact that the individuals at the top of an organization - executives like CEOs and CIOs, and even board members - didn't feel personally responsible for cyber security or protecting the customer data," said Damato in an interview with Squawk Box of CNBC on Friday.

"As a result they're handing this off to their techies, and they're really just placing their heads in the sand right now," he added.

Even then, law enforcement and cyber security experts are warning companies that business email compromise is on the increase although it is only now that its extent is being disclosed.

As profits of businesses increase, cyber security experts warn that losses in cyber scams will also increase.

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