Cyber Crime can attack any sector, small or large, at virtually any time, but only 46 percent of global businesses have any type of cyber crime insurance. Cyber crime costs the Australian economy over $4.5billion annually, but it is one of the most uninsured coverage areas. It is estimated that about one in every five dollars is lost due to cyber fraud and cyber attacks, according to a recent study. Insurance companies aren’t even guaranteed against these losses, so it is very important to consider cyber insurance as part of your overall business planning.
Most attacks on businesses and even personal computers result in less than serious financial loss, with the potential for loss of reputation and business. The financial impact of cyber crime can vary widely and reach into the millions. Some cases, such as financial crimes like embezzlement or theft will result in imprisonment, while other cases, such as intellectual property theft, will likely result in the filing of a legal claim. This is why it is so important for all Australian businesses to consider cyber security from an ethical and legal standpoint.
For many companies, the potential damage and loss could outweigh any monetary cost. For example, consider the ramifications of someone taking out a credit card in your name with your bank. That person can use your credit and other information to make purchases over the Internet, getting hundreds of dollars worth of items without leaving a trace of your signature. If you don’t already have cyber insurance, you need to make sure that you are getting a sufficient level of protection.
While Australia has fallen victim to cyber attacks and thefts directly, many businesses have come under fire because of the way they responded to the problem. There was a recent case where an IT administrator of an IT support company was hacked because he had failed to update his antivirus software on a regular basis. Instead of taking immediate action, which would have prevented further damage, he shut down the company’s website, removing access from the public to the information. This manager soon learned that he was a target for this particular crime because he hadn’t been performing his job as promptly as he should have. The result was a disaster for not only this company but also for the personal and professional lives of countless Australians.
While most people understand credit card fraud and what it does to a person’s credit score, there are other types of cyber crimes that do far greater damage to a person’s life. One of these is the identity takeover, also known as ID theft. This is one of the fastest growing cyber crimes in Australia. Currently, Australia is reporting 160 cyber crimes per every day. An ACSC report paints a much simpler picture of how those cyber criminals target everyday Australians.
Of the nearly 60,000 reports made to the ACSC in the last financial year, around 40 per cent were categorised as ‘fraud’: specifically romance, investment, or shopping scams
Identity takeover is when a cyber-criminal uses your personal data, such as your name and address, to obtain items or services that you do not deserve. Using your details to obtain premium payments on life insurance, loans and even mortgages can put you at significant risk for many years to come. Even using the information to apply for credit cards can result in serious financial consequences, such as being declined, being hit with large interest fees and being unable to rent an apartment.
Other examples of cyber crimes in Australia include data breaches, including stealing and knowingly transmitting private or financial information. This type of cyber crime is often referred to as a ‘cyber attack’ because it results from a person deliberately trying to obtain your personal details to use against you. While most data breaches occur when a person passes their identity over to another party in an unsavoury way, some data breaches are carried out deliberately by criminals who have gained access to your information by way of hacking into your computer. Some malicious attackers have used their skills to create fake email accounts to pose as someone else, sending themselves emails that appear to originate from your bank or credit card company. In other cases, hackers break into your computer system, causing it to contain dangerous information that can be used to drain your bank account.
A separate but equally worrying trend is identity theft, which occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission. This can include unauthorised transactions made using your credit card, bank account or even obtaining a loan. Cyber criminals have gained access to your personal and financial details through a range of different ways, including internet fraud, phishing scams, thefts from wallets (attempted) and through malicious software installed on your computer. The Internet is also a major cause of cyber crime, which includes stealing confidential medical records, compromising email accounts and leaking confidential information (emails and documents) across the internet. It is important to report any incidents of this nature to your credit card provider, telephone operators and law enforcement agencies.