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Introduction of coronavirus lockdown saw financial cyber-crime surge

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The first month of lockdown saw a 72 per cent surge in financial losses from cyber-crime, the City of London Police have said, as criminals took advantage of the shift to home working.

The force said it received 3,916 reports of incidents during the first month of lockdown, which began at the end of March.

This amounted to around £2.9m in losses, a 72 per cent jump from the previous month.

However, it’s not just financial crime. On the day Boris Johnson called for businesses to close, the National Crime Agency warned that data was being stolen using coronavirus-themed malicious apps and websites.

Cyber criminals even targeted healthcare bodies with attacks designed to collect bulk personal information, intellectual property and intelligence.

It is thought that many of these attacks are designed to steal sensitive research data for both commercial and state benefit.

“We want to make the UK the safest place to be online and we’re working tirelessly to defeat cyber criminals,” said Ian Dyson, Commissioner of the City of London Police.

“Cyber crime is a growing trend, with total losses increasing.

“In particular, criminals are targeting social-media users and online account holders in a bid to make money and steal personal details.

“We work closely with our partners, individuals and businesses to tackle the threat of cyber crime.”

In August, the National Cyber Security Centre received more than 1.8 million reports from its own reporting service, which allows people to forward suspicious emails directly to the agency for further investigation.

Billions of stolen usernames and passwords, including logins to bank accounts, are being offered to cyber criminals on the dark web, researchers warned in July.

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