A Melbourne man was shocked to discover he had been hacked, become a victim of identity theft, and had his every online movement tracked, after he had his iPhone checked at a local Apple store. After he noticed some unusual activity occurring on his iPhone and Mac, he was advised by the store that he was part of a family sharing plan. “You’re the child and there’s a parent,” the Apple employee told him. This gave the ‘parent’ the ability to monitor his actions and block him from using certain apps on his phone through parental controls.
He financially lost $9500, almost lost another $10,000, his smart TV, security cameras, credit cards, AfterPay, tax returns and even his Tesla car were all hacked. He had suspected that someone was monitoring his screens, and he is certain that his information has now been put up on the dark web.
Each time he wants to send an email, a Pegasus Spyware warning appears on his screen. Apple has returned $300 in compensation, and they are still trying to find a way to resolve the issue.
However, two years later, he has been unable to shake the cyber criminals behind this scam, and suspects it originated from someone he met on a dating app.
The identity theft is so extreme that he has received a Commonwealth Victims Certificate to show to government agencies and financial institutions to help manage his situation.
Best Practices To Avoid Identity Theft & Cybercrime
- Keep software up to date
- Practise good password management
- Avoid phishing scams
- Avoid clicking unrecognised links
- Safeguard Protected data
- Install antivirus/anti malware protection
- Back up your data
Ramifications of Cybercrime
In the last year, more than 5.3 million Australians experienced cybercrime.
And Australians spent a whopping 27 million hours trying to resolve the issue at an average of 5.1 hours for each Australian, according to the 2022 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report.
Cyber-attacks can damage a person or business’s reputation, and erode the trust your customers have for you, which in return can lead to loss of customers and loss of sales.
The financial impact of a data breach is one of the most hard-hitting consequences that organisations and individuals will have to deal with. Costs can include compensating affected customers, setting up incident response efforts, investigating the breach, investment into new security measures, legal fees, as well as the regulatory penalties that can be imposed for non-compliance with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
Author: Mahdi Kobeissi, Agilient Consultant