Cyber Crime concerns

Report Shows Big Increase in UK Cyber Crime

One of the regular reports that organisations take notice of in the IT world is Security firm Symantec’s ‘Internet Security Threat Report’, and the latest one shows the UK as being the most targeted nation in the world for spear phishing attacks and social media scams! As an IT Support Company in Hertfordshire this is obviously worrying news and we are frequently asked by clients to help them make their organisations more secure and resilient as well as compliant. Unfortunately cyber criminals are becoming much more organised and professional.

Call Centre Operations

It seems that even cyber criminals are now adopting corporate best practices and operating their ‘businesses’ in a professional way. We know that criminals are often one step ahead when it comes to hacking skills, but it is now not unusual for cyber criminal organisations to use call centre operations, and to have their own technical staff. This shift to a more ‘professional’ criminal status and the associated scale and reach means that cyber crime risk levels are reaching critical for businesses and consumers alike.

Zero Day Attacks

Professional cyber criminal gangs have been successful in searching for and finding software, hardware or firmware vulnerabilities, and exploiting them on the same day. 3 out of 4 websites globally for example have unpatched vulnerabilities. The Symantec report shows that these so-called ‘zero-day’ attacks have showed a 125% increase in 2014 to 2015.

Malware & Data Breaches

Not only did malware increase 36% in the same year with 430 million malware variants, but 2015 saw record breaking data breaches reach 191 million, with 9 mega-breaches involving more than 10 million records each. Over 80% of companies however chose not to report the records that were lost. This means that in reality breaches could actually have exceeded half a billion!

Old Scams Still Working

The Symantec study confirmed that some of the older and more popular scams are still working. As an IT Support Company in Hertfordshire we often hear reports of scams like fake technical support calls, but this type of crime saw has seen a 200% increase because of the addition of fake warning messages being sent to smart phones prompting the owners to call the (criminal) call centres.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

These latest figures highlight the need for all businesses to take a serious and professional approach to their own IT and cyber security as soon as possible. Schemes such as the government’s Cyber Essential’s Scheme is a good place to start, and seeking other specialist IT security help is now commonplace. Staff training and education, risk assessment and management, penetration testing, tightening of data protection, and a greater focus from the top down on IT governance and increasing cyber resilience should now be a priority for businesses.

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