Cyber crime on the increase

THE police fraud and cyber crime group has warned cyber criminals are ramping up their efforts to steal from unwitting Ipswich individuals and business owners.

Acting Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence said that in the last month, the cyber crime group had observed an increase not only in the number of scams circulating, but also in the level of sophistication of the scams.

Spt Lawrence said members of the community needed to take every possible step to prevent themselves from falling victim.

"The theft of personal and business data will continue. Whether these thefts be aimed at the individual or at larger organisations as part of strategic ransomware attacks, these crimes are highly profitable for criminals and will without question, continue to rise," he said.

Recent attacks have included not only malware and ransomware attacks, but attempts to steal identity via scams such as phishing, hacking, remote access scams and document theft and cyber attacks on business and Government agencies.

"The offenders behind these attacks are relentless and while we continue to see the same scams reinvented or reinterpreted, there are always new ones that leave us very concerned," Supt Lawrence said.

Malware and ransomware attacks are one of the most concerning, with offenders using tactics to trick you into installing malware software on your computer and allowing the scammers access to your files and to track your activities. Ransomware attacks target businesses, demanding money to "unlock" your files which they have gained access to and quarantined.

Identity theft continues to target businesses but more specifically individuals through links in emails, gaining access through security scams, and remote access scams, where the victim unwittingly allows a "helpdesk" to take control of their computer.

The cyber crime squad is also concerned at wire scams, which target the business sector. Wire scams involve scammers using legitimate email accounts and requesting transfer of money.

Police have made a number of recommendations for people to prevent cyber crime.

  • Do not open attachments or click links in emails or social media messages that are unsolicited. Delete them.
  • Be wary of any free downloads or website access. They may install harmful software without you even being aware.
  • Keep your security up to date on your electronic devices.
  • Never send money or give credit card, passwords, online account details or documents to anyone you do not know.
  • Be careful of the information you post on your social media profile. A birthday, middle name and address can be enough for a scammer to build a profile on you and steal your identity.

If you have been the victim of cybercrime, report it to ACORN (Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network)

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