Remote access scams are a growing concern for Australia’s supply chain

Cybersecurity resilience for business should be a top priority following a report that $7.2 million has been lost to remote access scammers alone this year – an increase of 184 per cent compared to the same period last year.

As many industries continue to operate from home due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, it is imperative that computers and mobile devices are protected, and more importantly, the users of these machines are mindful of remote access threats.

Almost 6,500 Australians – according to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch – reported phone calls from scammers trying to convince them to download software that gives access to home computers and bank accounts.

Commonly called remote access scams, scammers pretend to be from well-known organisations such as Telstra, eBay, NBN Co, Amazon, banks, government organisations, police, and computer and IT support organisations. They create a sense of urgency to make you give them access to your computer via remote access software.

“Remote access scams are one of the largest growing scam types in Australia,” said ACCC Deputy Chair, Delia Rickard.

“Scammers take advantage of the digital world and the fear of fraud and cybercrime to access people’s devices and steal their money.

“These types of scams target and impact all people and can be convincing. People aged 55 and older lost over $4.4 million, accounting for almost half of total losses. Young people reported losing on average $20,000 and eight Indigenous Australians, some in remote communities, lost a total of $38,000.”

The ACCC is working with the private sector to disrupt these scams including by sharing information with telecommunications carriers about the phone numbers used to call Australians so they can trace and block calls.

The number of internet-connected devices, according to IT service management company, Gartner, was expected to reach 50 billion by 2020. The integration of traditional IT environment with unconnected operational technology systems and expanding connected endpoints via Internet of Things would as a result exponentially increase the risks that consumers and businesses are prone to face.

Meanwhile, a report from professional services company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, found 38 per cent of logistics companies have significant unresolved questions surrounding data privacy and security.

Last year, the Australian Government welcomed the announcement by the European Union (EU) to impose sanctions against malicious cyber actors, the first set of sanctions under the EU’s cyber sanctions regime.

A month prior, the Australian Government supported the release of the Joint Cyber Security Advisory by the US, UK and Canada.

In 2019, Australian researchers said it would take a catastrophic event for cybersecurity to be taken seriously in the mining and resources industry.