A reformed criminal mastermind once dubbed ‘Britain’s Greatest Fraudster’ has warned Derbyshire businesses that the biggest threat to online security is ourselves.
Former hacker Tony Sales has teamed up with Derbyshire-based IT solutions firm RDS Global to raise awareness of the importance of stepping up cyber protection.
The event was held to launch RDS Global’s new RDS Black Box™ technology - new software which cost £1m to develop and connects and integrates data to deliver a real-time dashboard.
Tony, who after a stretch in prison is now on the right side of the law and helps police and organisations around the world to protect themselves against cyber crime, addressed an audience of 120 Derbyshire business people at the launch party.
The 45-year-old fell into crime aged 13 by dreaming up sponsored events that never happened and pocketed the money before escalating into credit card fraud and creating fake identities, identity theft and mortgage fraud.
Tony, who now fronts We Fight Fraud, a collaboration between leading fraud and financial crime prevention specialists from diverse backgrounds, said: “I go all over the world showing people how easy it is to be scammed - opportunities allow criminals to do their stuff.”
He said the 2017 data breach of US firm Equifax, one of the biggest in history, made it clear that data was 'available for sale on the internet and I know from that data I could take your house with that information'.
Tony, who dubbed himself ‘King Con, the ultimate fraudster’, said: “Loss information is flawed and no one wants to share this information - this has to change.
“Data protection protects the criminal, if retail can’t talk to insurance and insurance can’t talk to finance.
“99.9 percent of websites are now hacked and people don’t understand this. 1.3 billion people had their information stolen in 2016.
“I want people to understand how important data is, and we are the weakest link.”
Speaking of the RDS Global launch party, he said: “The event was great. The RDS Global’s Black Box laser experience is the best thing I’ve seen at a business event and I’m looking forward to trying the technology.”
The cost of illegal finance to the UK economy is £160bn per year and 83 percent of fraud is cyber-enabled, according to NCA strategic assessment, UK Finance 2019.
RDS’s patent pending solution is capable of connecting different systems and controllers, and porting multiple data feeds into one place. This can be hosted on site or in the cloud, from where detailed reports are generated live through personalised dashboards.
It is thought that the new innovative management information system will allow for the consolidation of data, allowing businesses to use it for their strategic advantage.
William Taafe, director at RDS Big Data Solutions said: “$700bn is spent globally connecting systems together. RDS’s Black Box™ connects internal systems and is made to companies’ requirements to give full control. Black Box™ pulls in data from all input to create something meaningful.”
RDS’s chief executive officer Andrew Flinn said: “At RDS Global, we are passionate about technology and want businesses to embrace the ever-evolving industry as well as use it to their advantage.
“We are excited to officially launch the RDS Black Box as it will drive positive change and efficiency in business.”
Derbyshire Constabulary’s advice to protect against identity fraud include: “Keep your computer security programs, such as antivirus and firewall, up to date.
“Make sure your web browser and operating system are the latest version. If you’re not sure how to do this, ask a computer specialist or someone you trust.
“Be wary of clicking on links in unsolicited emails. They may contain viruses or other programs that can harm your computer.
“If you’re making a financial transaction online, make sure you’re on a secure site. You can do this by looking at the address.”