Criminals changing tactics due to economic crisis
New research from security house Garlik has revealed that UK cybercrime has bounced back to levels last seen in 2006, mainly due to the recession and consumer complacency.
Garlik’s annual UK Cybercrime report revealed that over 3.6 million cyber crimes were committed during 2008, which is a rate of one every 10 seconds. The report also found that criminals were adapting their techniques in response to the economic crisis.
The firm recorded a 207% increase in account takeovers – when fraud is committed by a criminal accessing a user’s active online account. Garlik claims that this signals a shift away from the traditional online fraud technique of opening a new account with a stolen identity. One reason for this could be the drying up of available credit as the recession worsened, Garlik said.
“We fear that account takeover fraud will continue to increase in 2009 due to the decline of available credit and tighter credit checking by the banks,” said Tom Ilube, CEO, Garlik. “Consumers must be extra vigilant of all their online and financial accounts as well as avoiding increasingly convincing phishing scams.”
The company detected nearly 44,000 phishing websites targeting banks and building societies in the UK.
Even if consumers have security software installed on their home PC, they still need to be vigilant about possible online threats, Ilube said.
“As threats shift and change, it is essential for consumers to take steps for their own safety: even if they think that it is ‘someone else’s problem’. It is not. Consumers need to be smart online and stay one step ahead of the cybercriminals,” he said.
His view was echoed by Dr Stefan Fafinski of Invenio Research. He said: “Identity theft in particular received a great deal of media and public attention in 2006. As a result, many consumers took the first steps to protect themselves, buying shredders and anti-malware software to feel secure but have since become too complacent and as a result have been hit by the next wave of cybercrime.”