The rise of cybercrime in recent years has cost Australians billions of dollars. In 2011, Australians lost $4.8 billion to credit card cybercrime to criminals, according to a Norton cybercrime report. If we shared the load, that costs every Australian $212 each year.
Cybercrime is on the rise, and it’s important to know who’s most at risk, and how to protect yourself. The ASIO director-general David Irvine has warned businesses and individuals to be on the alert for an increase in cyber-attacks, and that much cybercrime is going undetected.
Even though cybercrime is on the rise, many of us still aren’t sure on what it is, or how to avoid it. The story that put cybercrime on the nation’s radar broke in 2012, when a Romanian syndicate of computer hackers stole up to 500,000 credit card details by hacking the data of 100 small Australian businesses who were unaware that cyber criminals and computer hackers could access their customer’s credit cards. It took the AFP a year and a half to track down the syndicate.
The people most at risk of cybercrime and credit card fraud are the 40,000 small to medium-sized Australian businesses, which employ just over 40% of all Australian workers, and produce around 50% of Australia’s GDP, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
These businesses process 20,000 e-commerce transactions annually, however they’re too small to sufficiently protect their online payment systems, making them an easy and profitable target for cyber criminals.
What can we do to protect ourselves from credit card fraud?
Check credit card statements, and follow up on any transactions you don’t remember authorising.
Lock letterboxes so thieves can’t steal identity information from your paper bank statements.
Never share details like your PIN or internet banking login or password.
Delete spam emails.
Install anti-virus and firewall software on all your devices, and keep them up to date.
Safely access internet banking by typing your bank’s full website address; don’t save it as a bookmark, because this could be changed to take you to a fraudulent website mimicking your bank’s login page.
Avoid public computers when internet banking; never do banking at internet cafes, libraries or hotels. If you have a smartphone, use that, but be careful not to save your login details on your phone.
Guard identity information; only give your details to people and entities you know and trust. This information includes your date of birth, current address, driver’s licence number and passport details.
These tips come from recommendations by the Australian Bankers’ Association, as well as Commander Glen McEwen, Manager for Cyber Crime Operations in the Australian Federal Police. Following all these precautions will make you a difficult target for cyber criminals.
If you’re looking for more advice on how to protect your identity and escape cybercrime, talk to our private investigators who can assess your current e-commerce security practises, and let you know if you’re at risk.