Cybercrime is becoming a major concern for businesses worldwide. Fraudsters have become increasingly sophisticated in the techniques that they employ to hack into private information that has the potential of completely destroying a company. Last month, the police busted an international cybercrime network operating out of Pretoria and made several arrests in a joint operation of the West African hackers.
 
Arnold van der Linde, Executive Chairman of IntegriSure says as a result of this cyber fraud (phishing), business owners are urged to take steps to protect themselves against irrevocable financial losses.
 
According to recent statistics released by APWG after surveying global phishing trends, there were at least 115,565 unique phishing attacks worldwide in the second half of 2013. This is nearly a 60% increase over the 72,758 seen the first half of 2013.
 
Van der Linde urges business owners to report any incidents to the police as soon as possible so that the authorities take action. “Following this, investigations into the crime will take place and if the business has taken out a risk policy to safeguard their business, then the liability which is being protected by the policy will be recovered.”
 
Van der Linde says most businesses at some point will fall victim to a cyber-attack, network down time and loss of important data which can have devastating effects on the business. He says this is an issue that companies need to pay close attention to now – especially given the growing rate of incidents.
 
“Locally, incidents of cybercrime are increasing dramatically as well. In 2009, only 45 cases of internet banking fraud were reported to the Banking Ombudsman. In 2010 complaints connected to internet banking fraud surged to 484 cases reported to the Ombudsman’s office. In 2011 it climbed to 591 cases. In 2012, complaints to the Ombudsman’s office about online banking fraud increasing by three percent and constituted almost 20% of the cases handled by the Ombudsman in 2012,” he says, referring to a Ombudsman’s report released last year.
 
Van der Linde advises that online fraud is mostly made possible if both parties comply. “This means that in order to become a victim of an online scam, you would have to actually provide the fraudster with some of your details. Having said this, phishing and online banking fraud can be very difficult to recognise and business owners and the staff working in their organisations need to be vigilant,” he says.
 
According to Van der Linde, scams are typically carried out by e-mail or instant messaging – often directing users to enter details on a fake website with a look and feel that is almost identical to the legitimate one.
 
“These emails are scams. A bank will never ask anyone to reveal any personal or account details via email or sms. Never respond to emails, SMSs or calls from your bank that ask you to confirm your personal information such as names, ID numbers, contact details etc. Any message that does request such details should be treated with suspicion,” he says.
 
Passwords are another very important tool to avoid becoming a victim of online banking fraud. “No matter how cryptic one’s password is – if it is not protected then it is essentially useless. Do not save your company’s Internet Banking password on your desktop, or use software that remembers passwords for you on your computer. It is too easy for someone else to gain access to the password or decode this software,” he says.
 
Van der Linde says there are specialist insurance products available to business owners such as cyber risks policies which would cover organisations against the risk of operating a computer network, liability, loss of data and business interruption as a result of computer network downtime. Furthermore, he explains, some specialist companies offer risk management services like ‘Cyber Penetration Testing’ which, amongst other reports, tests the vulnerabilities of the network of the organisation.
 
Van der Linde urges business owners to report any incidents to the police as soon as possible so that the authorities take action. “Following this, investigations into the crime will take place and if the organisation has taken out a risk policy to safeguard their organisation then the liability which is being protected by the policy will be recovered,” he concludes.

Leave a Reply