As technology works its way into more and more aspects of our personal and business lives, it is no surprise that online fraudsters and cybercriminals are finding new ways to exploit the everyday Australian. People’s hard-earned wealth can be put at risk, often inadvertently, with many victims of cybercrime unable to recover lost funds. What’s more, the immediate impact of cybercrime is often centered around the victim themselves, but the wider economy also pays a price down the track.
What, then, can we do to better protect our wealth online? Read on to find out…
Troubling Australian Cyber Crime Statistics
We are all likely aware of the rising concerns around cybercrime, but the statistics around its prevalence and impact are staggering.
- UNSW estimates that cybercrime costs Australia’s economy about $42 billion a year, with approximately 300,000 cybercrimes committed each year yet only around one fifth reported.
- Per Edith Cowan University, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) reported a total $634 million lost to scams in the 2019-20 financial year.
- According to The Guardian, the average cost per cybercrime for a small business is $39,000, while for large businesses that figure is typically $62,000.
- Savvy’s Cybercrime in Australia Report indicates a jump of 84% in scams between 2021 and 2022.
That last statistic is of particular concern – cybercrime incidents seem to be on the rise. As such, it is critical that we all act now to secure our identity and our wealth online so we don’t also become part of those damning statistics.
Business owners, particularly those operating small to medium sized enterprises, appear to be a key target for scammers and hackers, with businesses being targeted, on average, every ten minutes. A lack of security measures in place and a perception that SMEs are less equipped to deal with cybersecurity threats contribute to their place at the top of the target list for these crimes. Investment scams and dating scams are also very active, totalling well over $400,000,000 in losses through 2022.
Phone calls, emails, and text messages are the most common ways scams are delivered to their victims. Text messages are by far the most reported delivery method, but caused a much lower amount of money lost than phone call scams. And as you might expect, Australians aged over 65 are the biggest target in terms of age group. (Source: Scamwatch Australia)
How to Protect Yourself Online
This is a simple one. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an additional layer of security that you can add to most online accounts. When you log in to a service online with 2FA, you enter your login credentials as normal, and then the second factor is often a code sent to your mobile phone that you have to enter, or another similar second step to verify that it is indeed you trying to access your account.
Password vaults are widely available online tools which allow you to securely store, manage, and generate passwords for your online accounts. Many also have the functionality to pre-fill your credentials for sites, meaning you don’t have to remember your passwords, and the program does the logging in for you. Access to a password vault is protected by a unique login code/password. If you keep your credentials in a vault, and ensure your passwords are strong, you should have no problems keeping brute force attacks at bay.
Another no-brainer – install antivirus software on your devices. This gives you protection from threats such as malware, ransomware, and other malicious programs that can be downloaded onto your computer to cause damage or steal your information. Sophisticated malware and ransomware programs can infect your computer without initially raising any suspicions, so have your antivirus software enabled to allow it to capture these programs as they come through.
Educate Yourself & Be Vigilant!
Hackers and Scammers are always coming up with new ways to get your information and money online. With so many different types of scams, and a variety of ways they can impact your many devices and accounts, the key to protecting yourself is to remain vigilant and up to date. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. And treating unexpected emails with suspicion is a good start!
Cybercrime and Your Wealth
You’ve worked hard to build your wealth and set yourself and your family up for a prosperous and comfortable lifestyle. So – don’t get complacent when it comes to your online security! In particular, your bank accounts, investment accounts, client logins for investment portals, and other finance-related accounts should never share passwords.
While you look after your online accounts and keep everything secure from your end, we’ll look after your investments and financial plan – together, you’ll be on track to reach your financial goals!