Late November… Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Fraud Thursday… The run in to Christmas is well under way. With huge volumes of cash moving about through e-commerce and card transactions it’s little wonder that cyber criminals are having a field day, causing security issues to dominate the tech news.
Early in November Tesco Bank was hit in a spectacular attack which saw 9000 customers collectively relieved of £2.5 million. This is the largest ever cyber-attack of its type on a UK bank and surely sets the company’s brand back again. It has slowly been recovering from the adverse publicity it has received over the last couple of years but this latest fiasco is bound to be a backward step of some significance.
As this story has developed over the last few weeks, it has been alleged that Tesco failed to act on a warning from Visa, issued more than a year ago. The bank may have failed to heed warnings of a security flaw in its payment systems, allowing the hackers to exploit a Code 91 glitch, which allowed them access to customers’ card data.
According to leading internet security firm Kaspersky Lab, in Q3/2016 spam email grew 37% over Q2, the highest since the beginning of 2014. Analysis shows that around 6 out of every 10 emails are unsolicited spam.
Spam is unsolicited marketing mixed in with traffic with criminal intent such as those designed for malware infection and phishing scams. Top criminal uses of email recently include fraud schemes to obtain delivery payments for people registering to test the new iPhone 7. Ransomware delivery continues to plague both business and personal email accounts.
The problem of ransomware in business has been something we’ve regularly featured on the blog and there is little sign that its march can be arrested. This week the BBC ran a feature story on its national TV bulletins highlighting how personal users have been hit. The report said British people had paid out £4.5 million to the criminals in 2015, with over 4,000 attacks reported to the police.
Whether you are a large multinational, cash rich corporation like Tesco, just a personal user, or a company or organisation in between, the best advice remains to patch software by regular updating, follow expert security advice, and to exercise best practice when using the internet and email.
Complacency is the real enemy here. Don’t fall victim to cybercrime because you think it can’t happen to you or your business. To find out more about how to improve IT security and defend the threat from hacking, spam and ransomware, simply get in touch today.
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