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25 March 2021

Cybercrime Statistics: A Year Since Lockdown

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You have probably noticed a rise in the number of phishing phone calls (vishing), phishing text messages (SMiShing) and social media attacks you’ve received in the past few months. This is no coincidence. It comes as a result of a huge increase in cybercrime rates over the past year.

We’ve spoken a lot about how the pandemic has affected the cybercrime industry, and how in turn, this is putting organisations at risk like never before. Now a year on, Action Fraud and City of London Police have released some staggering statistics that uncover the truths of what has been happening over the past 12 months.

Action Fraud report that more than 15,000 accounts were compromised by criminals in the past year

What does this mean? 

When an account is compromised, the criminal can potentially access financial and sensitive information belonging to the individual. If the same login credentials are used across multiple accounts, for example mobile banking and social media, the criminal can access a lot more than they initially intended to.

A compromised account doesn’t just put the individual at risk, it puts their contacts, friends and families at risk too. A prevalent attack at the moment is the use of WhatsApp, as it provides access to a whole list of people who already know and trust you. Criminals push out more attacks through compromised accounts to improve their success rate.

To prevent your accounts from being compromised, we recommend that you use strong and unique passwords. If multi-factor authentication is an option, we also highly recommend that this is enabled. It is also important that you know how to spot and stop attacks should you receive one. This is achieved through cyber security training.

Organisations lost £3.8 million to these crimes compared to the £283,500 lost by individual victims

Though responsible for only 1,741 reports out of the 15,214 reports that Action Fraud received between February 2020 and February 2021, organisations remain high-value targets for cybercriminals.

City of London Police reports Coronavirus related fraud has resulted in losses of £34.5m

Even today, criminals are coming up with new scams related to the Coronavirus pandemic, the latest centred around vaccination notifications. With many of us never having experienced a pandemic on this scale before, it’s become more difficult to know what is genuine and what isn’t. This has been key to the success of Coronavirus phishing scams.

Cyber Security Awareness offer a free training course specifically on these scams, covering the different types of attacks, what to look for and ultimately how to stop them to protect yourself and your organisation. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,030 websites, 425 phone numbers and 597 email addresses have been taken down by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB)

The crackdown on fraud has grown in unison with the increase in cybercrime rates over the past twelve months.

City of London Police Assistant Commissioner for Economic and Cybercrime, Angela McLaren, said:

“Tackling fraud requires a whole system approach and I am extremely thankful to all of our partners who have helped us achieve these results.

“Whilst these figures show the work of the national fraud units, there have been many more examples of good work by local police forces up and down the country, who continue to apprehend fraudsters and stop their criminal activity whilst balancing many other policing priorities.”

Sources:
Action Fraud | ONE YEAR SINCE LOCKDOWN: Fighting fraud during the pandemic
City of London Police | City of London Police warns public to keep online accounts safe from hackers

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