£34.6 Million Lost To Cyber Criminals In Second Half Of 2018

The latest figures from Action Fraud have claimed that financial losses caused by cyber crime increased by 25% between the months of April and September.

Worryingly, this means that cyber criminals were able to successfully steal £34.6 million during this time.

According to the report, 13,357 people in the UK reported cyber crimes during this six-month period. However, the figures do not cover those that were victims of fraud but did not notify the police.

Email attacks and impersonation attacks through social media made up more than a third of the total attacks in 2018. This equates to a loss of £14.8 million spread across 5,000 individuals and businesses.

Research shows that only 1% of the UK’s top 100 law firms have sufficient measures in place to protect against basic forms of email fraud. The findings from cloud data intelligence firm OnDMARC come as a stark warning to lawyers who are obligated to protect sensitive client information and monies.

Worryingly, while adequate security measures are lacking, the use of fake or compromised email accounts to steal information is on the increase.

Typically, hackers will assume the identity of someone in authority to trick employees into making money transfers to fraudulent accounts or sending them confidential data. And, legal businesses have become a tempting target for cyber criminals seeking lucrative prospects.

In fact, according to the SRA’s compliance conference in December 2018, 60% of firms reported an information security incident in 2018, and cyber crime has risen by 52%. Additionally, The Financial Conduct Authority believes there are at least 1400 organised criminal gangs attempting to steal mortgage funds at any given time.

Impersonation fraud is also becoming increasingly sophisticated and convincing. Over 5,000 individuals made complaints over a three month period regarding a fake TV Licencing scam. In December alone, the seemingly legitimate account convinced 200 people to part with £233,455. These scams were only successful because all aspects of their website were extremely accurate to the original.

Commander Karen Baxter, of City of London Police, commented: “Cyber crime is a growing trend with the total losses increasing by 24 percent,” said Commander Karen Baxter of City of London Police.

“To avoid falling victim, it’s important that people keep a strong, separate password for their email accounts.”

Whilst cyber criminals choose to prey on human error to make their money, it is becoming increasingly important to consider the cyber security strategies used within your business to protect your client and your reputation. Ensuring that employees are aware of their responsibility and how to detect potential email scams is also a vital ingredient in combating cyber fraud.

How robust is your cyber security plan? Are your employees aware of their responsibilities?

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