Advertise on Bizcommunity

Subscribe to industry newsletters

Anyone can fall victim to cybercrime

In this digital era, when we sell and buy things online, no one can feel safe about their personal data anymore. Even celebrities are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Last year, a MasterChef finalist Dani Venn fell victim to cybercrime when $250,000 were stolen from her family.

“I thought that something like that would never happen to me,” says the reality TV star. She sold her family home in Melbourne and was planning to buy a new one via the electronic property transfer system Property Exchange Australia (PEXA).

“So, for that short window between selling and buying, we were extremely vulnerable. And that’s the moment when the hackers struck and stole our home deposit of $250,000. We were left with no home and no money to buy a new one.”

The unknown hackers compromised the system via Venn’s conveyancer’s account and swiped all the money arranged for the new property. The cybercriminals used the “forgot password” function to intercept the email. They created a new user who changed the payment details of Venn’s transfer to relocate the funds to their bank account.

It took some effort for the stressful story to come to a happy ending, and Venn recalls the incident as her family’s worst nightmare. The young family with two small children had all their life savings missing and no place to stay just because of a software security flaw. “We trusted the system, and we were left homeless,” regrets the famous chef.

After the story gained media attention, PEXA agreed to gift Dani her lost home deposit, so the family could proceed with purchasing their dream property. PEXA reportedly reviewed its security systems to take extra measures for protecting its customers against this type of fraud.

Start using cybersecurity tools


Today, Venn looks at cybersecurity with new eyes.

I am more conscious and aware of online security and safety. I would never disclose sensitive information, like bank accounts, via email or online messaging platforms as I may have in the past.

The chef and entrepreneur says she takes the attitude that everything we do online is being watched. “That way, you are always thinking twice about sharing personal information.”

To feel safer on the internet, Venn started using cybersecurity tools such as NordVPN – a virtual private network that provides her and her family with advanced security and complete privacy online.

“Since the incident, I’ve changed the way I use the internet. I frequently change my passwords, and I’ve adopted all kinds of tools. For example, I use NordVPN, which encrypts my traffic, so no one could see what I browse, except me.”

The mother of two believes that people aren’t suspicious enough.
“Vigilance is the best defense, after all. That’s why you shouldn’t ever click on questionable links or open emails from unknown sources. Take cybersecurity seriously. If you do not know a thing about the subject, and if you use no tools to protect yourself, you’re the target.”

Hackers pick opportunities, not victims


Venn says the most important lesson she learned is not to give hackers opportunities.

“Hackers do not pick their victims. They pick opportunities to create victims. For example, you’re browsing on a public Wi-Fi without NordVPN. The hacker is on the same Wi-Fi watching the traffic. If they spot that your traffic is not encrypted, they can spy on anything you’re doing. That’s how we were hacked. The system wasn’t secure, and the hackers exploited it.”

Venn’s story reminds how easy it is to fall victim to cybercrime. Scamming attacks don’t just happen when you respond to dodgy emails. Hackers can find more sophisticated ways to trick you unexpectedly. To protect your sensitive information and improve your security online, the TV star advises using privacy software tools.
Get a daily news update via WhatsApp or sign up to our newsletters.
Comment

Related

News