4 Ways Industries are Being Impacted by Internet Fraud

Opinion14.02.2017
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Businesses worldwide engage in a certain level of planned and unplanned risks that most of the time is manageable. At the individual level, consumers who buy goods and services on the internet and have various online profiles on different platforms are also exposed to a level of risk. With the increased use of the Internet and mobile platforms, cybercrime and online criminal activities have also gone up. Over the past few decades these have become a lot more sophisticated and have even impacted big businesses that have been victims of cybercrime as well. These cost businesses money, damage their intellectual property and ultimately put the burden on local economies as well as governments. The four common ways businesses and industries are being affected include:

Phishing

If you’ve ever received an email from a trustable friend to visit a suspicious website, you probably have experienced phishing yourself. With phishing, internet fraudsters forge emails/identities and send out emails to the real personal or business’ network with the intention of retrieving personal and confidential data (including credit card information). Usually, with big business phishing scams, customers are redirected to a site that looks almost exactly the same as the actual business and are tricked into providing sensitive information. This often results in such information being stolen and used for ulterior motives including the transfer or funds and other illegal online transactions.

E-Mail Account Compromise

At the individual level, having your private email accounts compromised can be a highly frustrating experience and could cost you a bit of money and time. Often the general public and professionals are targeted with compromised emails that request payments to questionable locations. These emails usually rely on recipients actually buying into the claims made in the email and following through with the requests made by perpetrators. For businesses, this could take the form of scams targeted at the business’ network of foreign suppliers as well as companies that perform regular wire transfer payments. In this case, business email systems are compromised through various hacking techniques in order to conduct unauthorized fund transfers.

Data Breach

In the political realm, we often come across data breaches that make headlines with political names attached to them. While this can be damaging to the individual politicians as well as costing political campaigns, for businesses this could cost a lot more. A data breach is when data is “leaked” from a secure location to the broader environment. Data breaches usually involve the sharing of confidential data and information intended to be private. Intentions behind data breaches can happen for a variety of reasons, not just financial ones. At the individual level, data breaches can also occur in the form of denial of service into a system that you normally would have access to because it was hacked into and taken over.

Malware

Any Apple or Mac user knows that to see a sudden “Apple” notification generated on an Internet browser is something that the company would never do. This is an example of Malware/Scareware. The intention behind malware is varied, but usually it is to steal private and confidential information in order to engage in illegal online transactions. These scams usually play on people’s fear of something happening to the work they’re doing on their computer or just their computer in general. For businesses, often scammers can adopt the identity of trusted businesses to run their scams. A major backlash of this is that customers and clients end up believing that the businesses themselves were responsible for the scams.

While the above scams are the more commonly used ways to compromise businesses and industries, many more exist and are being developed by Internet fraudsters globally. Governments, international organizations, and business communities still face the challenge of how to deal with this growing problem effectively and efficiently. For countries that don’t have secure servers to begin with or weak digital infrastructures, this leaves a lot of room for internet fraud to take place. Tackling this is therefore crucial to creating safe environments for both businesses and citizens to engage in our growing digital economies. This is not just necessary in order to provide public safety and curb criminal activities, it is also becoming an issue of national security, as cybercrime moves from the commercial to the political and military field.