Broker Check

Cyber Crime, and What to do About It

December 02, 2020

Mary Atamanuik reports on a study of cyber crime and its impact on consumers in the United States and United Kingdom by Clario Tech and Demos. Here are their findings for the United  States:

  • 4 in 10 people think they are vulnerable to be targeted by hackers. While half of 18-25 year olds feel secure, older people feel more vulnerable.
  • At least one in five Americans worry about stolen financial data, phishing or ransomware.
  • One in five Americans has been a victim of cyber crime or identity theft.
  • 35% of Americans - 115 million - have had their data illegally accessed. 24% don't know if it has happened.
  • 55% of Americans do not invest in protection from online fraud. One in three don't know how to protect their data.

Psychological impacts of cyber crime include stress, anxiety, fear, shame, anger and isolation.

55% of Americans think their legal system is not doing enough to protect them, and 37% don't find reporting to the government is helpful.

The Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in the Department of Homeland Security is not capable of handling cyber crime. The National Cyber Communications Integration Centre is supposed to share information with the private sector but is ineffective. The Internet Crime Complaint Center run by the FBI captured just 10-12% of cyber crime as of 2016.

The report includes recommendations to the government.

  • Establish a national reporting hotline for cyber crime.
  • Establish a national fraud taskforce.
  • Roll out victim care squads.
  • Banks should be legally required to pass information to the hotline when their customers are victimized.
  • Require businesses to provide customers with guidance on protecting themselves after a data breach, and introduce remedial security measures.
  • Mandate basic cyber security education in schools.
  • Educate adults on cyber security.
  • Strengthen the CISA.
  • Create the post of National Cyber Director.

Hopefully the new administration will make cyber security a priority.