Cyber attacks displace theft of physical assets ‘for first time’: Kroll report

Fraud, cyber, and security risks are at an all-time high, according to an annual report on global fraud and risk carried out by Kroll, a US-based corporate investigations and risk management consultancy, which noted that “information theft, loss, or attack was the most prevalent type of fraud experienced” for the first time in the annual Kroll report’s 10-year history.

According to Kroll, which released the 2017/18 Kroll Annual Global Fraud & Risk Report today, the proportion of executives reporting that their companies had fallen victim to at least one instance of fraud over the past 12 months increased to 84%, from 82% in the previous survey, in keeping with an escalation of such incidents over the years. In 2012, the reported occurrence of such incidents was just 61%.

Confidential information in particular “is coming under increasing threat”, Kroll noted, in a summary of its findings, while executives at the companies interviewed reported “feeling a heightened sense of vulnerability to fraud, cyber and security risks”.

Cyber attacks, meanwhile, “represent one of the most persistent threats to confidential information,” Kroll said.

“In fact, the reported level of occurrence for every type of cyber incident included in the survey increased in the last 12 months.

“As criminals and other threat actors continue to find new ways to monetise confidential data, including personal data, data assets are becoming increasingly valuable and attractive targets.”

Information now thieves’ No. 1 target

“Information theft, loss, or attack” emerged this year as the most prevalent type of fraud experienced by those interviewed, 29% of whom said their company had experienced it, a rise of 5 percentage points from the previous year.

This edged out “theft of physical assets or stock”, which, Kroll noted, had previously been the most common type of organisational loss cited by those it surveyed, but which this year fell to second place, cited by 27% of respondents.

The Kroll findings will come as no surprise to a number of financial services industry experts, who have been warning that such information exchange programmes as the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard could put the extremely sensitive, personal information of millions of people at risk, if better safeguards aren’t provided for.

The Kroll data also covers a year when such major internet viruses as WannaCry and Petya paralysed computer systems across the world.

Of those it surveyed, nearly four in 10 respondents (36%) “said their companies had been impacted by a virus or worm attack, an increase of 3 percentage points year-over-year”, Kroll noted.

“One in three (33%) said they had suffered an email-based phishing attack, up 7 percentage points from the last report; 27% had suffered a data breach; and 25% were affected by data deletion.

“Beyond digital threats, information was highly susceptible to loss through other means: 29% of executives surveyed said equipment with sensitive data was stolen, while 27% said equipment was ‘lost'”.

To read and download the report,  click here. 

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