Businesses both in the private and public sectors in Nigeria, as well as the Federal Government, have lost several billions of Naira and Dollars to fraud and cyber-crimes in the past.
Cybercrime is an issue of global concern. In a report sponsored by Intel’s cyber-security solutions provider McAfee, with the theme, ‘Net Losses – Estimating the global cost of cybercrime,’ which was released by the Centre of Strategic and International Studies, it was estimated that cybercrime costs businesses $400bn worldwide.
For owners of small businesses, there is this thinking that their ventures are not targets for cyber-attacks. Experts, however, say this type of assumption can result in a huge mistake if the small business owner does not take proper precautions to safe-guard his business. Findings have revealed that more and more criminals are targeting smaller businesses, simply because such ventures have not implemented the proper safeguards to keep their business protected from these potential cyber-attacks.
Experts say Nigeria is as susceptible to cybercrimes as many other countries of the world. This, they say, is why businesses across the country must learn how to avoid being caught in the fraudulent activities of cybercriminals.
The President, Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria, Victoria Enape, while speaking at a recent seminar for relevant professionals organised by CIFIAN in Abuja, says, “It is a statement of fact as distasteful as it is to hear that our nation Nigeria is rated among the countries with poor fraud prevention records in the world”.
She adds that, “It is even more worrisome to know that despite the Federal Government’s renewed efforts in tackling fraud, corruption and cybercrimes, very little result has been achieved, especially in the area of securing conviction against perpetrators of such fraud in Nigeria.”
Findings show that some of the negative impacts of cybercrime include its damage on trade, competitiveness, innovation, and global economic growth. So, as a business owner, to avoid being a victim in the hands of cybercriminals, always endeavour to update your computers. It is advisable to have your entire network up to date by paying attention to notifications regarding updates to your operating systems, anti-virus software, web browsers and firewalls. This helps you avoid costly cracks in your defence system.
Another way to prevent being defrauded by cybercriminals is for you to adopt the use of cloud services. You can save money and time by using cloud services for handling application needs and data storage. Also, as an entrepreneur, you should learn from the mistakes of others, especially on issues of cyber intrusions and disclosure of private data that may have led to large financial losses.
Enape, however, notes that empirical research and legal pronouncements have shown that cybercrimes and other similar fraudulent acts that led to the collapse and failure of many companies were aided and abetted by invidious and insidious accounting practice. She urges business owners to employ the services of forensic auditors to help mitigate fraud and cybercrimes.
According to her, the job of forensic and investigative auditors in combating cybercrimes starts where the functions of traditional auditors stop. “We are fraud auditors, and our type of audit is different from that of accountants or traditional auditors,” she says.
Enape observes that fraudsters have become sophisticated and now engage digital technologies to perpetrate fraud. She notes that in cases like this, the system of any business organisation requires forensic and investigative auditing which has to do with the use of science and technology for fraud prevention and detection.
This, according to her, is why the institute came up with a bill, adding that the intention of the CIFIAN Bill is in line with global best practices, as countries like Canada, Belgium, United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Austria, etc, are operating similar institutes to train business owners on how to combat the menace of fraud and cyber-crimes.
To further prevent cybercriminals, the business owner must also discover where the major problems confronting his business are. He can then get a professional to fix the issue, as this is another major way that he can ensure that his system is going to remain safe.
Business owners should also create strong passwords and change them frequently. It is advisable for business owners not to use the same password for all of their accounts, because if such password is broken, all their personal information may be stolen. Therefore as an entrepreneur, endeavour to create various passwords that combine numbers, symbols and other factors to ensure it is safe and secure.