Malware reports up 51% in 12 months, according to police data

A review of the official NFIB and Cybercrime database points to a dangerous rise in computer virus, malware, and spyware misuse

Official police data points to a concerning rise in reports of malware, spyware, and computer virus misuse, which has grown 51% in the last 12 months.

According to the NFIB Fraud and Cybercrime database, 500 reports were recorded between June to August 2020, rising to 659 between September and November, 670 between December 2020 and February 2021, and 754 between March and May this year.

Source: NFIB Fraud and Cybercrime database

Cybersecurity has been named as a top priority for the education sector and other UK industries, with 86% of respondents to Softcat’s Business Tech Priority Report 2020 citing a primary focus on keeping users, data and infrastructure secure throughout 2021 – up 83% on results from the 2019 report. This is likely due to cybercriminals capitalising on the chaos caused by national lockdowns and the subsequent shift towards digital, which forced the majority of people to work and live online at rates never seen before.

The demographic most impacted by the rise in cybercrime is those in the 40-59 age bracket, with 2,700 reports. The 20-39 age group comes second with 2,400 cyber-attack reports, followed by 60-79-year-olds with 2,100, the 80-99 age group with 292 reports, and finally 0-19 with 237 reports.

“While cybersecurity is everyone’s problem,” said Mark Nutburn, group IT director at the British Assessment Bureau (BAB), “It is especially telling that this data shows the last 12 months have most adversely affected 40-59-year-olds – the generation with the least exposure to technology growing up while still being of the working age required to use it.”

Source: NFIB Fraud and Cybercrime database

In a recent white paper, the BAB outlined the critical importance of cybersecurity training for employees across all industries. They found that the biggest source of cyber-attacks is phishing, but also that a majority (88%) of personal data breaches are due to human error.

“It’s crucially important that employers maintain a robust cybersecurity training scheme within their businesses – the cost of not doing so could be astronomical” – Mark Nutburn, BAB

Additionally, the paper found that the provision of cybersecurity training is still far too low, with 46% of organisations, on average, still functioning without a cybersecurity policy. The study found that in 2019, 81% of directors, trustees or senior managed received cybersecurity training, compared to just 29% of staff.

Nutburn commented: “Cybersecurity and information technology training cannot fall by the wayside under the assumption that ‘people should know what they’re doing by now’. It’s crucially important that employers maintain a robust cybersecurity training scheme within their businesses – the cost of not doing so could be astronomical.”

In other news: Schools spend equivalent of 3m Chromebooks on paper each year


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