Digital security: WhatsApp fraud is rising

Iindividuals and SMEs are lagging behind

Cybersecurity issues had managed to climb to the top news, while small and medium sized companies as well as individuals are still lagging behind the trend. Their mail is often insecure, data storage facilities obsolete and passwords are weak and intuitive. This is observed across the USA however the situation in Europe is not better, according to the Netherlands authority.

Large companies protect themselves relatively well against cybercrime, but private individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a lot more vulnerable. This is stated in a report by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, which, at the request of the Ministry of Justice and Security, looks every year at the economic risks of cybercrime.

The CPB speaks of a security backlog in SMEs. Smaller companies use less strong passwords, computers are too often not updated when working from home, and the data storage also leaves much to be desired in terms of encryption. Altogether, in 2016 eleven percent of companies experienced losses over hacking activity.

For private individuals, 3 percent of households had financial damage due to an online incident, or half a million Dutch people.

This is slightly more than the percentage of victims of property crimes and more than the percentage of victims of vandalism and violent crimes.

According to Bastiaan Overvest of the CPB, many private individuals are negligent with updates.

20 percent of Android users, has outdated software on his smartphone.

WhatsApp fraud

Fraud via mobile devices is on the rise. In addition, the CPB specifically mentions WhatsApp. Criminals, for example, appear as family members and ask to transfer money. In the years 2015-2017, 60 such cases were reported to the Fraud Help Desk; in the first half of this year, there were already 180.

The CPB is optimistic about the shortage of ICT professionals. This is lower than expected because the number of students at ICT courses has risen considerably. The planning office sees an important signal in the fact that the wages of IT people no longer increase more than employees with other specialisms.

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