Australians are reporting a cyber-crime at a rate of 1 every 10 minutes, according to it’s watchdog the Australian Cyber Security Centre, with 13,500 reported since the launch of their new online reporting portal in July.
Indeed, the rise of cybercrime is a growing international concern, with governments worldwide launching more and more initiatives to counteract the rise.
In September 2019, the Indian government launched its own online portal to report cybercrime following an alarming rise in incidents between 2011 and 2016. The website estimated visits of over 2.5million during its first month in operation.
Surprisingly here in the UK, we have no official national statistics on cybercrime, with the figures rolled into existing crime statistics, such as fraud and theft. However, Action Fraud, the national counter-fraud agency run by City of London Police, received 13,357 cybercrime reports in the months between April to September 2018, with a financial loss to victims of approximately £34.6million.
Of course, we have all seen the high-profile hacks which have appeared in headlines, one of the most infamous of which in the UK was the WannaCry cyber-attack on the NHS. Back in May 2017, the WannaCry ransomware program locked out users’ access to any of their files and displayed a page asking for $300 in bitcoins (an online cryptocurrency) to unlock the files again and infected the entire NHS network. The attack cost around £92 million in disruption to services and IT maintenance upgrades for the NHS. However, most people in the UK don’t realise it was an international attack, with 230,000 computers estimated to be affected globally within the first 24 hours of the attack.
There has also been plenty of incidents where large multi-national companies have been affected by cyber crime. For example, US credit reference agency Equifax in 2017 was hacked which potentially put over 400,000 UK consumers information at risk, including names, addresses, passwords and other sensitive financial information which was again potentially damaging as this credit reference agency is used throughout the UK financial industry.
Similarly, in 2014, Sony Pictures were the victims of an email hack where a hacker group calling themselves the “Guardians of Peace” claimed to have stolen around 100 terabytes of data which was leaked onto the internet. This data included scripts and production details of films in development, as well as emails from employees throughout the organisation, some with highly damaging and embarrassing details.
What is perhaps even more troubling is the age of offenders who commit these offences. The National Crime Agency stating the average age of cyber criminals is 17, with low barriers to entry, peer pressure and even the offender’s own fascination with programming being cited as reasons for young people to get involved in cybercrimes, rather than a direct want to make money or gain rewards in some way.
Here at SEO Nuts, we recognise the growing impact of cyber crime and how businesses need to protect themselves and their websites from criminals and over the next few weeks we will be releasing a series of blogs with tips on how you can protect yourselves and how we can help you to keep your website secure, which will be the focus of our next blog.