There isn't anyone I know who hasn't had some sort of cyber fraud inflicted on them, or at least knows someone close to them who hasn't suffered a loss.

The diamond and jewellery industry is easy pickings. As more and more of our businesses rely on the web, we are automatically exposed. We have websites, databases constantly uploading goods, whether loose diamonds or jewellery we are perfect targets.

Every internet entry point to our business is like a door, no matter how big a lock you put on it, it's as vulnerable as our safes; someone can get through it if they want to. The problem with the web is that the majority of us have so little knowledge. A good analogy is that we might buy what looks like a strong door and lock, but the door frame has never been examined and is a bit old and never properly patched up (excuse the pun for those who are in IT). Hence, we are easy pickings.

Recently we heard stories of Sony being hacked and their customer s details were stolen. Well, what would happen if you were hacked for all of your customer’s details? Maybe someone wanted your customers buying patterns, and intimate knowledge of the goods they buy, prices paid and their general terms and conditions. A good hacker could get in and out, you wouldn't even know it, and they'd sell this information to your competition.

What if they changed your invoices and suddenly hundreds of thousands of dollars were being diverted to another bank account? By time you figured it out the money is gone, the damage is done and as a diamond wholesaler you may not survive financially whilst it hopefully gets sorted out.

In July last year a cyber-criminal group was uncovered using names like "" mimicking the names of an English jewellery business. Their modus operandi was to look like a well known retail site and infect a person’s computer, learning their passwords.

We all recently saw the GIA get hacked. Is your security better than theirs? Maybe... maybe not.

Am I trying to scare you? Yes. Why? Because it is critical that we all bring in experts just like we do for marketing, legal and accounting to ensure we are following the best procedures.

I was in Antwerp recently and attended a lecture about cybercrime and a specialised cyber insurance policy being offered by Driessasur Insurance brokers. It made me realise how exposed we all are, and consider that maybe we all need to step it up in this area.

Trade well.