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Scams! $174 million stolen from Australian businesses Posted on December 8, 2020

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Cyber crime is on the rise. Government agency, ReportCyber, reports that almost the same number of successful attacks have occurred between July and December 2020, as in the whole year to 30 June 2020.

It is increasingly difficult to identify an attack. It is not your fault, nor is it a reflection of your intelligence, if you accidentally pay a cyber-criminal.

Criminals adopt an identity – either business or personal – that the victim is familiar with, they doctor documents such as invoices that the victim may be expecting or deal with on a regular basis, and they use common communication methods such as email and Zoom to hack systems and intercept financial information.

How can you protect yourself and your business?

It is important to always be on alert. It is best to assume you will be attacked at some point, rather than hope it never happens to you. Cyber-attacks are ubiquitous – it is more a question of ‘when’, than ‘if’.

Test your digital security levels regularly. ICT companies can audit your systems to ensure you have the highest level of protection available to you.

Question new and large payments. Whatever Accounts Payable process you use, add a layer of verbal confirmation from the supplier of the bank transfer details.

Only accept a request to change personal information in person. If a staff member, supplier or other stakeholder requests a change in contact information, financial accounts or payment terms, follow up with them for confirmation in person. Some attacks have impersonated business and personal email requests.

Monitor every transaction of your accounts. Any unusual activity should be identifiable immediately. It would also be worthwhile to follow up with your bank to understand their process of managing fraudulent transactions.

Report suspicious activity immediately. The AFP is scrambling to protect businesses from such attacks. Most attacks come from overseas and in too many cases, there is little anyone can do to hold these criminals accountable, or deter them from further activity. That’s why it is absolutely critical to report the attacks. The AFP need to track what they are dealing with, and your data is valuable in this way. You should report to ReportCyber.

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