Last year, the rate of online extortion cases reported to authorities surged by nearly 40% compared to the previous year, as stated in a recent report from the global legal firm RPC.
The data, encapsulating the entirety of the year until December 2022, originated from Action Fraud, the principal institution in the UK responsible for gathering reports on fraud and cybercrime.
As per the disclosure, there were 3200 instances of cyber extortion in the last year, encompassing scenarios involving ransomware, sextortion, and situations where data was confiscated and ransom demanded. This marks a rise from the 2300 incidents documented in 2021, RPC noted.
The report also indicated an 8% growth in the number of complaints lodged by individuals who fell prey to email and social media hacking, escalating from 13,500 in 2021 to 14,600 in 2022.
Such occurrences frequently precede identity fraud attacks where professionals such as attorneys and accountants, among others, witness their email accounts being compromised and utilized to dispatch fraudulent messages to victims, coercing them to transfer funds to the scam artist, as asserted by RPC.
Richard Breavington, the leader of the cyber and tech insurance sector at RPC, commented that despite the decline in assaults on larger corporations in the recent year, both small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and individuals find it challenging to efficiently navigate the cyber threats.
He remarked that SMEs, in efforts to diminish expenses and neglecting to adequately educate their personnel on data management and phishing deterrents, are engaging in a perilous practice. He noted the rise in the availability of cyber insurance plans tailored for SMEs to cushion the financial blow of data breaches.
Nevertheless, he cautioned that some insurance offerings necessitate the implementation of fundamental security measures prior to qualification. Insurance provisions, while not nullifying the repercussions like harm to reputation following a data breach, can expedite the recovery process for the business, he elucidated.
As per recent government survey data, a mere 36% of micro and small enterprises have acquired cyber insurance. In contrast, the adoption rate is observed to be higher among medium and large businesses, with respective coverage percentages of 63% and 55%.
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