Home-based cyber-criminals making millions from UK businesses

computer-keyboardBusinesses are at threat from highly-sophisticated home-grown cyber criminals. That is the view of Detective Superintendent Steven Wilson, the head of Scotland’s newly-created Cyber Resilience Group.

Speaking at the e-Crime Scotland Summit in Edinburgh, he revealed that home-based crime gangs are posing a huge threat to Scottish businesses. With e-crime estimated to cost the country £5 billion a year, the development of the Cyber Resilience Group is hoped to improve the anti-cyber-crime response across Scotland.

Det Supt Wilson warned: “People associate these attacks with gangs from Eastern Europe, China. In fact we are seeing a significant increase in this activity at home, with Scottish gangs heavily involved. These are organised criminals who may also be involved in the drug trade and other such activities.

”Their business is making the maximum profits with the minimum risk. They perceive cyber-crime as offering a high-degree of anonymity. We know it is happening in Scotland, because we already have several cases underway.”

He outlined ‘Vishing’ attacks as one developing cyber-crime that is targeting businesses. Devised as a follow-up to online ‘phishing’ techniques, the criminals carry out in-depth research of target businesses to conjure convincing scripts and pose as officials from banks or finance companies. Once the cyber-criminals have got passwords, they immediately make online cash transfers.

“We have seen these attacks across the UK cost businesses anything from hundreds of thousands of pound to millions of pounds,” added Det Supt Wilson.

Poor IT security is regarded as the most common risk facing businesses. Companies are being encouraged to adopt the 80:20 rule – with a basic 20 per cent improvement in security predicted to reduce the risk of crime by around 80 per cent.

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