Security Market Segment LS
Tuesday, 18 July 2017 13:21

Aussie employers falling prey to inside jobs: data theft and cyber attacks

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Australian employers are not doing enough to prevent internal crime, according to a new survey of legal professionals, with rogue employees engaging in deceitful deception of the disturbing kind.

A new survey of legal professionals has found that not only have many firms and their clients experienced employee crime — particularly crimes relating to data theft and cyber attacks — it also suggests firms and client organisations are not doing enough to protect themselves from rogue employees.

For example, the majority surveyed say they “believe that police checks are an important pre-employment screening tool, yet just 17% of respondents indicated that their organisation conducts police checks on potential employees".

When asked which tools they thought are essential for prudent pre-employment screening, 90% cited reference checks, 76% qualifications checks, 62% identity verification and 61% police checks.

The information comes via InfoTrack, whose SaaS platform provides “intelligent search and automated workflow for professionals across the legal, conveyancing, banking, finance, insolvency, surveying, mercantile, accountancy and government sectors” and “helps businesses swiftly find critical information pertaining to property, company, personal and national search data".

Naturally, InfoTrack wants to sell us all on its services, but the data is still valid, and worth sharing. More below.

InfoTrack chief executive John Ahern said of the survey that “This result is disturbing".

“Employers should know who they are employing and understand their background so it is surprising that police checks are not further up the list. This is particularly so given one third of those surveyed have been impacted by internal crime either within their firm or their clients’ organisations.”

However, we’re told that “the survey findings also confirm that pre-employment screening is a very worthwhile process with three-quarters of respondents selecting two or more benefits, and half selecting three or more from the list of six checks; namely checks for references, qualifications, prior convictions and visa status as well as checks for verification of identity".

So, despite the majority of those surveyed indicating that checks of references, qualifications, identity and prior convictions are important to prudent pre-employment screening, InfoTrack said “only half were aware of processes their organisation may have in place to verify qualifications or checks that are provided by potential or existing employees".

"Around one-third were unsure about verification processes, while 20% indicated they were not aware of any processes in place for verifying employee or candidate documentation, meaning that they are relying on the honesty of employees.”

The survey also suggested that “deception in the hiring process is quite commonplace".

Of those surveyed, “38% said that either they or their clients have worked with someone and later discovered that they had lied about, or failed to disclose, important information about their background. Commonly cited examples include falsified qualifications and employment history, lying about the reasons for leaving prior employer and not disclosing criminal convictions".

In fact, we’re told that “most respondents believe that there are convictions that would (or should) automatically disqualify potential candidates from being employed".

“Commonly respondents listed deceptive and financial crimes such as fraud, theft and embezzlement, however many also believe that crimes of a violent or sexual nature would preclude hiring.

“Despite 85% cent of respondents stating there are convictions that should be bars to employment in their organisation, only 61% said that police checks were necessary for prudent employment screening highlighting a disconnect between what firms believe and what they’re putting into practice when it comes to employee screening.”

Ahern concluded that “Internal crime has the ability to destroy an organisation’s reputation, impact its bottom line and open the gates to cyber-crime. These findings are a wakeup call for all organisations to be more vigilant in vetting potential employees".

Hmm. It certainly sounds famed former Intel chief executive Andy Grove’s business maximum was spot on, being “Only the paranoid survive,” with Joseph Heller of Catch-22 fame taking it up a notch to remind us that “Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”

Whether you need InfoTrack in your business is up to you, but it seems like another major American saying from a well known cult sci-fi is equally apt: “Trust No One”.

Except, you’d imagine, InfoTrack, who clearly knows that the truth is out there!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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