Ransomware a hot topic for crime prevention

A new partnership saw SA Police working with a diverse range of small businesses last week to combat cybercrime.

Police from the Financial and Cybercrime Investigation Branch, working with the South Australia Small Business Commissioner, delivered key crime prevention information, particularly providing advice about avoiding ransomware, to a range of small business owners and operators.

Representing industries as diverse as construction, trades, real estate, education and financial services, the attendees at a fully-booked event were provided with advice and simple measures to help protect their business.

In particular police spoke about phishing and ransomware – two types of scam which often go hand-in-hand. In essence, scammers use a range of methods to gain information which gives them access to a company’s computer system, often with an email containing a malicious link or attachment which installs ransomware.

Ransomware, so-called because scammers demand a payment of a ransom, locks the organisation out of their own system or data, impacting day-to-day operations of the business.

Sergeant Jonathon Newman said in August 2019 alone the ACCC received in excess of 15,000 reports by victims of scams, with losses almost reaching $17m.

“While South Australian losses reported to the ACCC are only a small proportion of the total figure, SAPOL’s Cybercrime Training and Prevention Section are working to reduce SA’s contribution even further,” he said.

“Micro and small businesses can be disproportional represented in this type of data as they often don’t have separate IT department or large budgets to spend on cyber security.

“That’s why we’ve teamed up with the SA Small Business Commissioner to educate small business about current cyber threats and provide them with tangible, low cost preventative solutions.”

Photograph: Small Business Commissioner John Chapman and Sergeant Jonathon Newman.

Small Business Commissioner John Chapman said this was the organisation’s first cybercrime information session for small business and first joint SAPOL presentation.

“Cybercrime is a hot topic for small business and it’s encouraging and reassuring that SAPOL have established a cybercrime investigation branch,” he said.

Last week’s event was the first of its kind, with a second – discussing Business Email Compromise scams – being held on 26 November. For more information about these seminars please visit: https://www.sasbc.sa.gov.au/

For more information about scam prevention please visit the SA Police website: https://www.police.sa.gov.au/your-safety/scams-and-cybercrime

This week is Stay Smart Online Week (7 – 13 October) where a range of agencies work together to highlight the impact of cybercrime. To find out how you can help to reverse the threat of cybercrime visit: https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/

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