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Tech-savvy fraud comment

A recent study by the credit checking agency Experian found that, contrary to common belief, nearly a quarter of ID fraud victims in the UK last year were avid users of social media platforms and mobile devices. This provides concrete proof that neither regular device updates nor computer literacy are stopping users from engaging in hazardous online behaviour, according to an app security company.

The reported 17 per cent rise in tech-savvy victims, despite them only making up 8 per cent of the population, confirms the shift from retired households and inexperienced technology user to young people as primary target for identity thieves, says Promon. This is a key indicator of the fact that companies can no longer live in the hope that the next generation of technology users will browse safely, the firm says.

Lars Lunde Birkeland, Head of Communication at Promon, said: “This study points to a leading concern: despite the number of people using smartphones and social media being on the rise, users’ awareness of fraud and hacker techniques are not growing with it. It is imprudent for businesses to continue to shift the responsibility for cyber-security to the users; especially when their reputation and business data are at stake.“

A 2016 cyber-threat defence report by Cyberedge, sponsored by Imperva, demonstrated that no cyber-security training will overpower human curiosity. During the study, a message was sent out to a range of users, claiming to contain pictures from a party and asking the recipient not to share them. One in four people clicked on the email link, while on Facebook, 43.5 per cent of respondents clicked the message.

Birkeland added: “This behaviour is hardly a novelty. Educating users to behave in a responsible manner is admirable, but clearly inefficient given the sheer volume of users. It is time businesses stopped relying on consumers to keep their devices malware-free, especially since most of us are one click away from being the victims of online fraud.“

Promon believes that this issue highlights the high-priority need for a change in the culture and understanding of online fraud. Businesses can no longer afford to simply depend on their customers when it comes to cyber-security, and need to take steps to protect their own data. Birkeland said: “Data breaches can pose severe financial and reputational consequences for businesses. What organisations need to do is think differently about cyber-security: the emphasis should be on working out how you can strengthen the security of your own data, rather than worrying about what your customers are doing.

“The Experian report be might be the last nail in the coffin for the outdated notion that users should be the main ones responsible for ensuring online security. There is no time left for businesses to ponder, they must take cyber-security into their own hands and they must do it quickly.”


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