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20 Jul, 2020 14:06

Cybercrime on the rise: 23% year-on-year increase as hackers prosper in a world locked down

Cybercrime on the rise: 23% year-on-year increase as hackers prosper in a world locked down

A report just published by UK governmental body the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows a dramatic increase in reported cyber offences in the United Kingdom in the past year.

The report highlights the uptick in the frequency of two particular types of computer misuse: “hacking – social media and email” (55 percent) and “computer viruses/malware” (61 percent), bringing the total year-on-year increase in cyber crime in the UK to 23 percent. 

According to the ONS, 26,215 incidents were referred to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau police unit in the year ending March 2020. 

The startling 2019/20 figure follows improvements made in 2018 to the public-facing fraud and cybercrime reporting centre Action Fraud’s online reporting tool. These changes, to both its internal case review processes and the tool itself, meant that some computer misuse offences were more accurately classified thereafter as fraud offences, and the figures for cyber crime actually saw a drop.

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In turn, that means that, though staggering, the real figure may be far higher. George Glass, head of threat intelligence at cyber-security company Redscan, told ‘Infosecurity’ magazine that the ONS report was therefore “inaccurate,” and said that Action Fraud was widely derided as “not fit for purpose.

You only need to look at the huge numbers of reports of Covid-19-related scams to know that the situation is far worse than represented by these statistics,” Glass added.

Since the start of the pandemic, the amount of cybercrime in the world has risen to record levels. In Q1 2020, it was reported that the number of malicious Android apps available to download had almost doubled to 29,000, for example.

The same trend was found in the number of cyberattacks against businesses, with May witnessing a 16 percent increase in the period between March and April. 

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