Sneaky cyber crooks are targeting more victims but stealing smaller sums of cash to avoid detection, report warns
- Online thieves are taking as little as £10 from thousands of accounts unnoticed
- Method dubbed ‘silent stealing’ and involves fewer risks than large amounts
- The UK has reached ‘epidemic levels’ with estimate cost at £190billion a year
Cyber criminals are stealing smaller sums of money but from more people in an effort to avoid detection, a report warns today.
The change in tactics means online thieves are taking as little as £10, which may go unnoticed, from hundreds of thousands of accounts at a time.
The Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) think-tank said the method, dubbed ‘silent stealing’, involves fewer risks than grabbing large sums and amounted to cyber crime going ‘downmarket’.
One expert quoted in the report said: ‘Yes, trying to steal £10million from a bank is an option, but stealing £10 a hundred thousand times is going to give you a good return and probably go below the radar.
The study calls for fraud to become a national security priority, with a cross-government approach and proper financing
‘Are you going to call Action Fraud or your bank in the case where you lose £10?’
Co-author Anton Moiseienko said the approach makes it difficult for the authorities or financial institutions to establish the true picture of cyber crime.
The study calls for fraud to become a national security priority, with a cross-government approach and proper financing.
It says the problem in the UK has reached ‘epidemic levels’, with recent estimates putting the cost at £190billion a year.
Sneha Dawda, one of the authors, said silent stealing has become so popular because the high level of breached data available online makes it easy for criminals to buy people’s personal details and use them for fraud.
She warned people to be careful what they share online, with fraudsters employing social engineering techniques, which use that information to craft personal phishing emails to trick recipients into handing over their details.
Its latest report, entitled The UK’s Response To Cyber Fraud: A Strategic Vision, said cyber fraud in the UK ‘is rampant, costing millions of pounds and leaving victims in its wake’
‘It’s probably down to a lot of awareness of the individual that they can identify a phishing email when they see one, that they double check before they click on links, that they don’t enter their login details when they’re even remotely suspicious that it’s not secure,’ she said.
‘It’s really about checking, checking and checking again before you do anything like giving out your details because cyber breaches are constantly happening, they expose a lot of information and simple things like a password manager and having unique secure passwords for each account that you have will minimise that risk of cyber criminals being able to take advantage of multiple accounts.’
Rusi last month warned fraud has reached ‘epidemic levels’ and called for the crime to be prioritised as a national security issue with a greater role for the intelligence services.
Its latest report, entitled The UK’s Response To Cyber Fraud: A Strategic Vision, said cyber fraud in the UK ‘is rampant, costing millions of pounds and leaving victims in its wake’.
The authors said the Covid-19 pandemic and the shift to home working has exposed the country’s vulnerability to the crime.
In a survey of 180 people – including law enforcement representatives, financial services personnel, academic researchers, cyber security experts and intelligence analysts – some 70 per cent said the increase in remote working has not been matched by increased efforts from businesses to improve their cyber security.
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