Home Security Online fraud losses hit US$3 billion-plus as cyber crime threats grow
Online fraud losses hit US$3 billion-plus as cyber crime threats grow Featured

Cyber crime is booming and online fraud is growing fast to become one of the most harmful corporate fraud categories identified by the FBI in the US, a global security firm claims.

Craig McDonald, chief executive and founder of global email security firm MailGuard, says in a newly published blog post, that since January 2015, there has been a 1300% increase in identified exposed losses to fraud, which now total more than US$3 billion.

And McDonald says the FBI only began tracking business email compromise statistics in 2013, but during that time they have seen the category grow explosively with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre reporting that BEC scams continue to grow, evolve, and target businesses of all sizes.

“The FBI’s projections for the cost of cyber crime in 2018 put the expected damage bill at more than US$12 billion. Consider for a moment that the FBI’s stats are just for the US and it’s clear that we are looking at a very big problem.”

McDonald says that from the point of view of the cyber security industry it’s readily apparent that there are two key reasons that cybercrime is growing so fast:

  • This is a relatively new problem that most companies are still coming to grips with; and
  • Online fraud is a relatively easy and low-risk crime.

According to McDonald, the main characteristic a cyber criminal needs is a disregard for morality, and the days when cyber criminals needed high-level technical skills are long gone.

“Any motivated crook with an Internet connection can get into the fraud racket with very little skill required,” he writes.

“They can buy and download easy-to-use scam kits from retail style websites on the dark web that make committing online fraud almost as simple as publishing an email newsletter.

“The WEF’s 2018 Global Risks Report shows that cyber attacks reported by businesses almost doubled in the five years to 2017, from 68 attacks per business to 130 per business.

“Now, contrast those figures with this one, from a Februrary 2018 Inc article; 70% of US companies aren’t yet adequately prepared for cyber attacks.

“With scams being easier than ever to run and companies still being relatively unprepared to counteract them, it’s no wonder the fraud numbers are skyrocketing.”  


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).


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