Ways you can avoid Cyber Crime!

Cyber Crime

The internet and new technologies have provided tremendous opportunities to connect, communicate, learn, entertain, share information, assist with shopping and accessing and transferring money. Of course, this current period of COVID-19 influenced restrictions have forced an incredible increase in internet usage, but unfortunately this has also provided opportunities for criminals to commit new crimes – and carry out old crimes in new ways.

What is Cyber Crime?

Cyber crime is a criminal activity that either targets or uses a computer, a computer network or a networked device. The purpose of this activity is to primarily make money and is carried out by individuals and organisations (and possibly foreign governments). Some cyber criminals are very well organised, use advanced technologies and are highly skilled. Others are novice hackers.

New research from Deakin University finds that one-in-three Australians can expect to be affected by cyber crime, or a data breach that releases their personal details. Damien Manuel, Director of Deakin’s Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation noted that this has increased from one-in-four Australians only a few years ago.  “At the end of the day, everyone is going to be breached, it’s just a matter of when” he says.  Australians lost more than $10 million to scammers last year, while small businesses lost more than $4.5 million. The research identified the following common scams to watch out for:

  • Being asked to pay unexpected fines or invoices;
  • Being asked by a government agency to login to update details, with links provided in the same email;
  • Being directed to urgently act to prevent fraud on an account, such as a bank account; and
  • Logging in to a cloud service to access a document from a person you don’t know.

Manuel said. “If you don’t need to open something, don’t open it. If someone calls and pretends to be from the ATO, Telstra, Optus, or so on, ring them back, but use details from an old bill or directly from their website”.

You may have heard about “phishing”. This is a fake email, usually sent en masse with the intention of tricking you into doing something that undermines your security – or the security of the organisation you work for. A famous example of a phishing scam from 2018 was one which took place over the Soccer World Cup and involved emails that were sent to football fans. These spam emails tried to entice fans with free trips to Moscow where the World Cup was hosted. Those that opened and clicked on the links contained in these emails had their personal data stolen.

Business leaders also need to ensure they place a value on data and information and establish processes and technology to protect the data commensurate with the risk they believe is real for their organisation. The main problem is that businesses often forget that customer data, staff data and third party data has a value and can be exploited by crime syndicates or nation states for identity theft for monetary gain, and to gain access to systems to steal data or to commit fraud.

Some important points:

  • Security is everyone’s responsibility
  • 35% of data breaches are due to human error – Fire walls protect the inside from the outside – but won’t protect information released to the outside
  • Keep your software and anti-virus software updated.
  • Use strong passwords that criminals will not guess
  • Keep an eye on your bank statements – query any unfamiliar transactions
  • The first quarter of 2020 NAB located 197 million cyber threats (and over 41,000 attempts of data theft). The second quarter of this year NAB has located over 261 million cyber threats.
  • Many of the major Banks have up to 300 staff working on protecting their customer’s data and controlling cyber threats. Most industries and businesses have minimal or no staff.

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