Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Investing

HMRC reports 75% surge in email attacks during Covid-19 outbreak

checking email

HM Revenue & Customs has reported a staggering 367,520 reports of phishing email attacks during 2020, with data indicating a sharp rise in incidents after the UK went into its first lockdown in March.

This is according to official data obtained by accountancy firm Lanop Outsourcing, under the Freedom of Information (FOI) act, which specifically revealed that HMRC faced an average of 26,100 phishing attacks in January and February 2020, before soaring to an average of 45,046 attacks per month from March to September – a 73 per cent increase.

The lowest recorded number of phishing attacks during March-September 2020, took place in August where just 38,096 attacks were detected by HMRC. However, this figure then soared to 57,801 cases in September – the largest monthly quantity all year.

As well as phishing attacks, HMRC also reported nearly 200,000 (199,621) cases of phone scams, and a further 58,921 reports of SMS (text message) scams.

The month which saw the lowest number of phone scams and SMS referrals was April, with just 425 and 2,515 of each respectively. This is likely due to the increasing amount of cyber criminals taking advantage of home workers via email phishing attacks (44,050 phishing scams were recorded in April).

Interestingly, when the UK came out of its first lockdown in June, the quantity of phone and SMS scams began soaring again, with the number of phone scams facing HMRC steadily inclining to a peak of 46,015 in September.

Cyber security expert Steve Peake, UK Systems Engineer Manager, Barracuda Networks comments “Interestingly, Barracuda’s own data recently unveiled a similar pattern of cyber attacks facing regular businesses, with our researchers observing a 667 per cent spike in spear phishing attacks from February to March, as a direct result of coronavirus. Similarly, other sectors, such as education, have also observed an upward trend of Covid-19 related phishing attacks during our battle against the virus.

“As the pandemic continues, businesses must anticipate Covid-19 themed attacks to increase in quantity. It’s also worth noting that cyber attacks and scams aren’t just contained to email messages, SMS based phishing attacks, or ‘Smishing’, and fraudulent phone calls, also pose a serious threat to consumers, workers and the general public.

“Combatting this threat cannot be achieved by simply relying on a single protection method. It’s important to utilise technology such as robust email security software, while also ensuring staff awareness of security and threats remains high through recurring training.”

Mohammad Sohaib, director, Lanop Outsourcing, comments: “Cyber criminals have not missed a trick when it comes to using the devastating coronavirus to lure unknowing victims into leaking their own private information, such as passwords and payment details, via a phishing scam.

“In one such example, scammers impersonated HMRC to trick business owners into believing that their VAT deferral application, a key government support initiative during the pandemic, had been rejected. They would then redirect victims to a website with official HMRC branding, before stealing credit card details.

“Unfortunately, we are likely to see the percentage of ‘successful’ scams to increase, as the sophistication and quantity of these attacks continues to surge. Combatting it requires constant online vigilance from business owners, consumers and internet users, as well as training and education around the threat facing them.”

Read more:
HMRC reports 75% surge in email attacks during Covid-19 outbreak

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.
Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

Latest

Economy

THE PHILIPPINES lags regional peers in terms of the share taken up by solar and wind energy in its power mix, energy think tank...

Economy

THE PHILIPPINE government tempered its economic growth target for this year, as rising inflation and ballooning debt threaten to hamper the economy’s recovery from...

Economy

By Keisha B. Ta-asan SOURED LOANS held by Philippine banks declined for a third straight month in May, bringing the nonperforming loan (NPL) ratio...

Economy

THE NATIONAL Government is hoping local government units (LGUs) will channel their expanded budgets into raising agricultural output, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said....

Economy

THE MARCOS administration should immediately address power supply shortages and high electricity rates, which are affecting businesses in the country, the Philippine Chamber of...

Economy

MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) has confirmed receipt of an order from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) directing the country’s largest power distribution utility to...

You May Also Like

Investing

Having a good Instagram marketing agency to back up your Instagram account is an absolute must going into the new year. With competition stronger...

Economy

Ivermectin, an existing drug against parasites including head lice, has had a checkered history when it comes to treating COVID-19. The bulk of studies...

Investing

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the global population. Therefore, it is a problem that many people suffer or have suffered throughout...

Investing

As a traditionally rigid insurance industry becomes bogged down by antiquated processes and operations, a handful of industry leaders are seeking to shake things...

Disclaimer: SmartRetirementReport.com, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2021 SmartRetirementReport. All Rights Reserved.