London firms losing £26 million every month to hackers: Scotland Yard

Over a third of firms are not prepared for WannaCry-like attacks

Threats / London firms losing £26 million every month to hackers: Scotland Yard

London firms losing £26 million every month to hackers: Scotland Yard

New statistics from the Scotland Yard's cyber crime unit have confirmed how cyber criminals are exploiting the human factor to victimise enterprises based in London, draining them by an average of £26 million every month.

Scotland Yard is using a new Lego board game to demonstrate how risky cyber behaviour like the use of insecure passwords and out-of-date software can lead to disastrous consequences for enterprises.

Scotland Yard has released some eye-opening statistics, revealing how cyber criminals have been taking advantage of the human factor to victimise enterprises and individuals using specialised malware, ransomware, and phishing emails. It stated that each month, as many as 3,500 people in London become victims of cyber fraud and residents and enterprises based in London lose an average of £26 million every month.

The statistics also revealed that while 89 percent of firms employed the right firewalls to meet expected threats, only one in five firms provided cyber security training to their staff which ensured that hackers continue to succeed with their attempts at phishing employees.

"We accept organisations and the public generally have the technology and correct processes but it is people that are vulnerable. What we are finding is that people are vulnerable through a lack of understanding of the cyber threat," said Mick Gallagher, head of the Met's cyber crime division.

Scotland Yard officers are now using a Lego board game to demonstrate to enterprises and individuals how the use of insecure passwords and out-of-date software can lead to disastrous consequences. The board game has already been used to demonstrate the likely impact of poor cyber security processes to firms like Tata Steel and Quintain and also to Commissioner Cressida Dick.

Earlier this year, the UK's Cyber Aware campaign gave the country's youngsters a few lessons in internet security after a survey it conducted revealed how poor cyber behaviour by 18-25-year-olds was leaving them exposed to the designs of cyber criminals.

While 27 percent of those surveyed confessed that they used the same passwords for multiple accounts, 79 percent said that they used their online accounts to send bank details or other sensitive documents like driving licences and passports.

"Your email account is really a treasure trove of information that hackers won't hesitate to exploit. You wouldn't leave your door open for a burglar, so why give criminals an open invitation to your personal information?" said Mick Dodge, the national cyber-protect co-ordinator with the City of London police.

According to the Cyber Aware campaign, rather than reusing passwords or using easy-to-guess ones, youngsters should use strong and separate passwords so that they are difficult to guess. They should also try to use two-factor-authentication wherever possible to secure their online accounts from criminals.

At the same time, 16-24 year olds are more likely to fall victim to computer abuse crimes that include virus intrusions and hacking attacks. According to Cyber Aware, this is because only 57 percent and 50 percent of young people install security software on tablets and phones respectively.

A survey conducted by the government's Get Safe Online campaign also revealed that 11% of 18-24 year olds in the country fell for phishing emails and lost an average £613, a significant sum for college-goers. At the same time, only 5% of over-55s in the UK fell for similar phishing scams and lost £214 on average.

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Jay Jay

Jay has been a technology reporter for almost a decade. When not writing about cybersecurity, he writes about mobile technology for the likes of Indian Express, TechRadar India and Android Headlines

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