Speaking at the Inaugural Cyber Crime Symposium today, Michael McKinnon, Security Advisor at AVG (AU/NZ) Pty Ltd, told delegates that cyber crime is here to stay and that protection will only come from a strong, unified community response.
The Symposium is being staged in recognition of the impact of cyber crime which, according to the Symposium website, is estimated to cost Australia as much as $1.8 billion and another $2.8 billion in time spent resolving cybercrime issues - more than the traditional crimes of burglary ($2.2 billion annually) and assault ($1.4 billion).
McKinnon sees that: “Only the combined vigilance of government, law enforcement agencies, business, social communities and individual actions will raise the standards of protection and reduce cyber crime’s unfettered expansion.
“As we built the Neighbourhood Watch concept of education, involvement and care for our physical world, we all need to be constantly aware and take steps to protect our online lives.”
From fraud and identity theft at its most serious to the inconvenience of infected PCs, smartphones and tablets at the lower end of the spectrum, cybercrime impacts us all: personally and through lost business productivity; and vulnerable children and older citizens, and even the tech savvy.”
As an example of the creativity of cyber criminals, McKinnon outlined how AVG (AU/NZ)’s local support team rate fake anti-virus software as the Top 4 scam issues currently facing Australian Internet users. With scammers persistently sending pop-ups to infected computers, unwary surfers are being alerted to non-existent viruses and directed to pay for ‘clean up services’ at cyber crime sites such as Security Shield, SystemFix or XP Anti Virus Pro.
McKinnon said: “Our best protection is to take the time to monitor what is happening in the ether and to secure all Internet enabled devices. We should all take individual responsibility for maintaining our systems and online gadgets with the most recent versions; installing the latest, always-on, automatically updating anti-virus and Internet security technologies; scheduling backups; and regularly changing passwords.”
McKinnon’s understanding of the current situation and emerging trends is supported by the quarterly “AVG Community Powered Threat Reports” that analyse input from AVG’s customers worldwide and provide insight, background and analysis of the developments in the global online security threat landscape. The most recent Report quantified the proliferation of QR code infections, stolen digital certificates bypassing security on mobile phones, and the persistence of rootkits. And, as mobile phone functionality converges with computers, cyber criminals are now targeting iPhones and Android devices with new malware.
The AVG Community Protection Network also focuses on building communities that help millions of online participants support each other on computer security issues and actively contributes to AVG’s research efforts.
Full Q4 Threat Report: AVG_Community_Powered_Threat_Report_Q4_2011 (http://www.avg.com.au/files/media/avg_threat_report_2011-q4.pdf)
Inaugural Cyber Crime Symposium - http://www.informa.com.au/conferences/information-technology/cybercrime-symposium