Cyber crime in the UK has been on the rise over the past several years, with the hacking of email and social media accounts being the primary cause. April to September of 2018 saw £34.6 million in losses as a result of cybercrime, a 24% rise compared to the previous 6 month period.
Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime and run by The City of London Police, released some statistics earlier this year that show the scale of cyber-crime in the UK. Action fraud received 13,357 cyber-crime reports in a six-month period between April and September 2018. Of these reports, 5,225 of them were primarily due to the hacking of social media and email accounts. The victims of these cyber-crimes are thought to have lost an estimated total of almost £15 million.
Cyber-crime can come in many forms, some of the more common attacks are phishing attacks and DoS (Denial of Service) attacks. Phishing attacks are used to gain personal information by tricking people, often with fake emails. These attacks can be used to gain all sorts of personal information, like passwords and banking information. A DoS attack is where attackers attempt to bring down a service or stop other users from gaining access by overloading servers with requests.
A key part of protecting yourself from cyber-crime, is to ensure you have strong unique passwords and never use the same password twice. Services like haveibeenpwned.com can be used to see if your email address or password has been compromised in any data breeches, if so, you should change your passwords immediately. You should also consider enabling 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) where its available, it adds another layer of security when accessing your online accounts. To find out more about 2FA read this article we’ve published.
Commander of the City of London Police, Karen Baxter, explained in a statement that cyber-crime is a growing trend and leaving more and more victims out of pocket and at risk of identity theft. She goes onto urge people to report incidents to Action Fraud if you believe you or a friend has been a victim of cyber-crime.