The number of British companies suffering cyber attacks is on the rise, and investigators are warning the strikes are growing more aggressive.
A joint report by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the National Cyber Security Centre reveals that between October 2016 and the end of last year, there were 34 significant cyber attacks.
The biggest was the devastating international strike on bodies including the NHS.
There was also 762 ‘less serious incidents’, it’s now becoming more important than ever to spot the threats and protect your personal data.
Emerging cyber attack threats
The report identified what some of the potential upcoming strikes could involve.
Cybercrime is now classed as a tier one threat, alongside terrorism, war and natural disasters, because operating online has become such a vital part of our national infrastructure.
- Cryptojacking In this case, you may unwittingly visit a website and download malware which allows hackers to access the spare capacity on your computer and use it to make money from virtual currency bitcoin. The only way you might notice that devices are being cryptojacked is a slight slowdown in performance. Using an ad blocker or antivirus programme is the best way to prevent this.
- Cloud data attack As little as 40% of the information in the cloud is saved in a way that’s secure and as more companies opt to store data this way, it will become a tempting target. The report warns that this could lead to high-profile breaches involving UK citizens.
- The Internet of Things With an estimated 11.2bn wifi-enabled devices – such as fridges or light bulbs – connected by the end this year, the report says we’re likely to see more hack attacks on Internet of Things products, especially because many internet-connected devices lack basic cyber security provisions.
We have a free guide on the top five ways to keep your Internet of Things home safe from hackers
What to do if your data’s been lost
If your data has been lost in a breach, there are steps you should take immediately to keep yourself safe.
In some cases you can even claim compensation.
You can check if your email address has been part of a data hack at ‘Have I Been Pwnd’.
Companies will soon have to pay
Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into force in May, organisations will have to report data breaches within 72 hours or they’ll be fined.
Deputy director of the NCA, Oliver Gower, said when companies try to cover it up it ‘has caused more harm than good’.
‘With Uber they paid the criminals 100,000 US dollars to have the data deleted, but in time these things come out and it does more damage to public trust if you haven’t been upfront.’
In November 2017, Uber concealed a data hack which affected 57 million users and drivers – including 2.7 million people in the UK.