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The Cyber Fraud Epidemic

February 6, 2019

Paul Gordon, Senior Manager, Managed Services & Network Compliance, Canadian Credit Union Association

A report released in 20181 by the antivirus company McAfee estimated the global annual cost of cyber crime to be in the range of $600BN or just under one percent of global GDP. That’s a staggering number and one that is only predicted to grow as our personal and business lives become more and more dependent on doing things online. As the McAfee report says “Cybercrime is relentless, undiminished, and unlikely to stop.” Part of the problem is that advancing technology is generally available to everyone, including the bad guys, and that makes the cyber crime problem a reality for everyone. In other words, if you or your members haven’t been impacted by cybercrime yet, you will be. The McAfee report highlights that “Cybercriminals at the high end are as technologically sophisticated as the most advanced information technology (IT) companies, and, like them, have moved quickly to adopt cloud computing, artificial intelligence, Software-as-a-Service, and encryption.”

Even a scan of the weekend paper provides a sobering glimpse into the cyber crime problem. Headlines talk about the potential security threats posed by smart home devices, financial abuse of seniors hitting record numbers, the work being done by Google’s in-house counterespionage group and the suspected national security threat posed by a certain Chinese phone manufacturer.

The world is becoming an increasingly scary place for anyone that spends time online but there are things that credit unions and their members can do to help protect themselves. Central 1’s fraud team recently released a Cyber Fraud Q&A document that provides practical information that credit union’s can use to answer questions from their members about cyber fraud and how they can prevent themselves from becoming a victim. A copy of the Q&A document can be found on Central 1’s secure site or on CCUA’s Risk Management Resources website. Also, March is Fraud Prevention Month so we’ll be sharing further information soon about how credit unions can take part in that initiative and help to raise member awareness about the growing cyber fraud problem.

1“Economic Impact of Cybercrime - No Slowing Down” McAfee February 2018