Security Market Segment LS
Monday, 16 July 2018 12:11

Email fraud attacks major threat to Aussie business: report

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Email-based fraud attacks dominate potential online security threats and Australian businesses are targets but generally unprepared to defend against the likely attacks, according to a new report.

The latest security survey from Australian cyber emergency response team AusCERT says phishing emails are the most widely used infection vector and are employed by 71% of all threat actor groups.

AusCERT cyber security author and chief executive Craig McDonald says in his latest blog on the company’s website that Australian businesses are targets and are generally underprepared and that ransomware and malware come in a close second and third.

McDonald cites phishing, brandjacking and CEO fraud as cyber crimes perpetrated using email as their primary vector.

“Every business is constantly sending and receiving emails, it’s part of the background noise of everyday work, so it’s a powerful tool for criminals who want to slip under the wire and attack a company from the inside out,” McDonald warns,

“The majority of people think of cyber crime and hacking” as a technical process involving coding and cracking but actually, the reality is much simpler; cyber crime happens via email.

“Without layered email security, serious phishing and malware threats are landing daily in every company’s inboxes.”

McDonald claims that organised crime is responsible for around 50% of cyber security incidents experienced by Australian companies.

“You might not think trickery like this could work, but the statistics on CEO fraud are alarming. According to the FBI, this kind of attack has increased by 2370% since 2015 and the global cost is now in the billions of dollars.

“People tend to think of cyber crime as being high-tech, but CEO fraud uses relatively simple tactics. Unlike ransom-attacks or spyware, CEO fraud doesn’t rely on clever software to be effective; it’s a kind of cyber crime known as ‘social engineering’ that uses psychological cues and deception to defraud victims.”

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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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