Education key to fighting computer fraud

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A US university researcher has published details of a strategy for businesses to fight computer fraud that centres on better education of managers..

Shalini Kesar, a computer scientist at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, suggests that managers should be made aware of security issues, and should send out cues to junior staff that they have this knowledge.

Writing in the International Journal of Business Information Systems, Kesar noted that combating digital fraud within any organisations is a growing problem for management.

The scientist stressed that computer fraud is often associated with a lack of communication at the wider organisational level.

"Computer fraud can result from incompetence, ignorance, negligence in the use of IT or deliberate misappropriation by individuals," he said.

This results in the destruction of the main information systems and backup systems, causing damage running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Kesar pointed out that reported cases of computer fraud represent only the tip of a potentially large iceberg.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that employees pose one of the greatest threats because they are in a better position than "outsiders" to engage in computer fraud.

"Lack of awareness of social and technical issues among managers largely manifests itself in a failure to implement even the most basic safeguards and controls," said Kesar.

"Concomitantly, if management ignores wider organisational structural issues this too increases the likelihood of a potential offender committing computer fraud."

These two main insights point to Kesar's seemingly obvious solution, which simply involves teaching management and then communicating this knowledge to employees.

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