Cybercriminals are preying on Australian businesses and individuals, with research suggesting in 2018 alone over 6 million Australians were the victims of a cyber-attack. Putting this number into perspective, that correlates to one in four Australians being targeted by cybercrime.
In the past 3 months, there have been more than 13,000 reports of cybercrime from individuals and businesses to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), which equates to one case being referred every 10 minutes. The Morrison Government estimates cybersecurity incidents cost Australian businesses $29 billion each year. People lost an average of $700 to cybercrimes, according to survey results released mid-2019.
The head of ACSC, Rachel Noble said the threat is “pretty high”, reporting that all Australians connected to the Internet were vulnerable. The most common type of cybercrime reported was online fraud, including ‘romance’ and bank scams. Romance scams involve criminals who build an online relationship with an individual over several months before convincing them to transfer money. Bank scams, however, refer to an individual being sent an email or text, which appears to be from their bank, requesting login details to fix an issue. If the person accepts, it allows cybercriminals access to their account, and money can be stolen. Identity fraud was closely followed, with criminals opening bank accounts in other people’s names.
These numbers are staggering, with literally anyone being potentially vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
What Can You Do?
In avoiding cybercrime the ACSC suggests:
- Passwords: Passwords are the lock on the front door to online lives. Make sure you have strong passwords and use a second layer of authentication, like an SMS code or a fingerprint;
- Phishing: We all need to closely check emails asking for personal details, verification of our passwords or bank details, whether we are at home or at work. Fake emails are getting increasingly sophisticated. Contact the vendor or organisation independently to check authenticity;
- Updates: When you get a reminder to update the software on your computer, phone or apps, you should do it promptly. Better still, set it to auto-update. It will help you protect your information and identity; and
- Public Wi-Fi: Be wary when using public Wi-Fi. It is possible for others to see what you are doing over public Wi-Fi networks, so don’t undertake online banking, online shopping or send sensitive information when using public Wi-Fi.
The Melbourne Joint Cyber Security Centre (JCSC) hosted a two-hour seminar on Business Email Compromises (BECs), which many cybersecurity experts consider to be the largest current threat to businesses. A professional industry and government cybersecurity expert, Alex Tilley (e-Crime Lead for the Counter Threat Unit at Secureworks) said ‘when you realise 41% of Australian businesses have no cybersecurity governance, it isn’t surprising they’re being targeted so specifically by cybercriminals. Australian businesses need to act fast and take their cybersecurity as seriously as other commercial risks’.
What Is Business Email Compromise?
Business Email Compromise (BEC) is an online scam where a cybercriminal impersonates another business representative to trick an employee, customer or vendor into transferring money or sensitive information to the scammer.
Due to these scammers or cybercriminals not often using malicious links or attachments, they can get past anti-virus programs and spam filters. These emails can include invoices or fines that may include threats to cancel your service or charge an excessive penalty if you don’t pay immediately. BEC has resulted in more than $20 million in associated losses to Australian businesses since 2018.
Implement Strong Cybersecurity Policies
Agilient’s consultants are experts in cybersecurity strategy and policy. We specialise in helping Australian organisations construct and implement cybersecurity policies in order to predict and respond to a wide range of threats. If you would like more information regarding how Agilent can help your organisation, please get in contact today.
Author: Jasmin Harvey, Agilient Consultant