Banks covering up cybercrime

Business News of Thursday, 11 April 2013

Source: B&FT


Several banks which have fallen victim to cybercrime have failed to report the matter to the police for fear of losing their customers, Ezer Yeboah-Boateng, a cyber security analyst, has said.

Speaking at the Business Times Breakfast Roundtable on ICT in Accra, Mr. Yeboah-Boateng said it is “typical of major organisations that are attacked to keep quiet — quite obviously because loss of credibility of their image, loss of customers and investor confidence are involved in their decision.”

According to him, less than 10 percent of cybercrimes suffered by banks are reported to the security agencies. “Research has shown that most incidents of cyber attacks are not reported. For every 20 cases reported, it is estimated that the actual crime rate could be 1,000 percent more.”

Banks rely heavily on ICT, hence they are the target of coordinated attacks by hackers who steal vital information and siphon huge amounts of monies.

Hackers have developed the capacity to remotely penetrate banks’ systems and tap into confidential data resources that enable them to steal depositors’ funds. The threat could even manifest right at a bank’s doorstep, as hackers are able to clone debit-cards minutes after they have been inserted into an ATM by a customer. Mr. Yeboah-Boateng said the ATM platforms are often the most targetted, and banking institutions must ensure that user-information is encrypted and not accessible to these fraudsters.

Cyber crimes, which refer to crimes involving Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tools — computers, digital devices, computer applications, and the internet — have over the years placed the country in a bad light in the eyes of the international community.

The Internet Fraud Report of 2010 by the Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3), an agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), ranked Ghana among the 10 major cyber crime offending-nations in the world.

Mr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako, the Founder and Principal e-Crime Consultant, e-Crime Bureau Inc., said the existing and emerging threats targetting the ICT-enabled business environment include mobile banking threats, hacking, malware attacks, social engineering attacks, security breaches, e-espionage, and phishing. He added that the “electronic platform” is emerging as the “centre of gravity” for fraud and other financial crimes.