DON’T PANIC but the amount of cyber crime bashing the UK is increasing, at least according to Symantec and one of its regular round robin threat missives.
The Symantec 2016 Internet Security Threat Report warned that threats are rising in several areas. The firm logged an international increase of 35 percent in crypto-ransomware attacks, the UK taking the third largest chunk with up to 2,215 attacks a day.
Some of the best advice from the security community is to use strong passwords, a suggestion Symantec makes in its summaries and guidance information.
The security firm said that the enemy is now more organized than ever before, and that most groups have the same kind of resources, skills and support as nation-state hacker groups.
“Advanced criminal attack groups now echo the skills of nation-state attackers. They have extensive resources and a highly skilled technical staff that operate with such efficiency that they maintain normal business hours and even take the weekends and holidays off,” said Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Response.
“We are even seeing low-level criminal attackers create call center operations to increase the impact of their scams.”
These sophisticated hackers are often the first to embrace zero-day vulnerabilities, which increased by 125 percent in 2015 to 54.
“Meanwhile, malware increased at a staggering rate with 430 million new variants discovered in 2015. The sheer volume of malware proves that professional cyber criminals are using their vast resources to overwhelm defenses and enter corporate networks,” said Symantec.
The numbers keep on coming. Over 500 million personal information records were stolen over the past 12 months, and one leak involved 191 million records.
There were nine major breaches during the period. Most large businesses will find themselves attacked at least three times a year, according to the report, and only 15 percent will be open enough to talk about them.
“The increasing number of companies choosing to hold back critical details after a breach is a disturbing trend,” said Haley.
“Transparency is critical to security. By hiding the full impact of an attack, it becomes more difficult to assess the risk and improve your security posture to prevent future attacks.”
Ransomware attacks rose by a third during the period, and are now more aggressive and damaging. The attacks have spread from Windows to Android smartphones and Mac and Linux machines.
The report also noted a resurgence in fake technical support calls. There were 7.6 million of these calls in 2015, and the UK got the second largest amount.