Cybercrime could cause huge economic damage to the UK

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Ransomware attacks on the rise and are a serious threat says cyber security experts Sophos

Cyber security experts Sophos has warned the increasing rise in cyber attacks can potentially “create huge economic damage to the UK”.

This was the claim of Sophos global head of security research James Lyne who spoke to Mobile News shortly after giving his keynote presentation on ‘Top Cybercrime and Exploitation Trends’ in the IP Expo Cyber Security Keynote theatre.

According to the Office of National Statistics, which conducted its first ever survey on cybercrime throughout the UK in July, there were 2.46 million unique cases in 2015, claiming more than 2.11 million victims from both business and consumer sectors.

However, Lyne warned the scale of damage could be even larger than the figures from the study, with the majority coming from ransomware attacks. He said: “The average value businesses lose from cyber attacks is usually around £70,000. I see more cases of ransomware hitting the tens of thousands on a weekly basis.

“However, we don’t really know the true value of these attacks. It’s a big enough concern for any business, whether you run a consumer retail store, a large business or a small enterprise.”

Ransomware

“A lot of them don’t own up to it. The damage to their overall brand can be catastrophic. Would you rather pay thousands of pounds to cover it up and not take the risk of revealing it to customers and damaging your brand in the long term?”

Ransomware is the technical term referring to a hacker gaining unauthorised access to an organisation’s files. They will then restrict entry and demand money in return for unlocking the data.

Lyne also claimed that businesses could easily overcome these issues, but were held back by a lack of knowledge or understanding.

“Attacks are becoming more prolific but they are easy to stop a large percentage of the time. Enterprises don’t lack the ability to prevent them.

“All it takes are a few tweaks of their current systems, but they’re often bombarded with so much jargon that they’re reluctant to look further into their security systems.”

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