Information theft is 'top fraud'

For the first year, Kroll reports that information and data theft is the most commonly reported fraud, overtaking the theft of physical assets or stock.

Kroll's recently published global fraud report has some interesting things to say about the increased threat of information and data fraud and theft.

The report features the findings of a survey carried out for Kroll by EIU.  800 senior executives from a variety of industries from around the world were interviewed.  88% of those surveyed reported that their organisations had experienced some form of fraud in the previous twelve months.  For the first time in these annual surveys, information loss, theft or attack has the dubious honour of ‘top spot' with an average of just over 27% reporting such an incident.

The next most frequently reported frauds were:

  • theft of physical assets
  • management conflict of interest
  • vendor/supplier fraud.

The reporting organisations reported that the ‘complexity of information infrastructures' is a key cause for concern.  Poorly defended technology may be relatively easy to exploit, especially as fraudsters and hackers become more sophisticated users of technology themselves.  But fraud is not reliant on advanced use of technology.   A disgruntled employee may easily remove valuable intellectual property in paper form, or using a simple memory stick.

European organisations fared relatively well in the report.  They reported a below average incidence of information theft (19% compared to the global average of 27%). 

However, Kroll warns against complacency in this area.  Even if 48% of participating companies reported they expect to increase spend on information security in the coming year, the report notes that this is actually down on the previous year. 

Data and information security will remain a big story for us all for some time to come.