Cyber crime has been on the rise for quite some time and with hackers honing their skills everyday, it comes as no surprise that authorities in the UK are stepping up their game to combat potential security threats on a cyber scale.
Big names in business including Amazon and Microsoft have joined forces with the UK’s National Crime Agency to form an alliance with the Ransomware Task Force (RTF) in order to push forward investigations into ransomware across the globe.
Large scale targets
Although anyone can be a prime target for ransomware attacks, the most common areas tend to be schools and hospitals, in addition to large businesses.
People at home may also come under attack due to various forms of phishing, but authorities leading security specialists suggest integrating a service from bestvpn could help to lessen the risk and massively enhance online security in the home.
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) can be used on a larger scale, however it is often the case that targets are institutions without this sort of defence barrier.
The RTF have provided reports to relevant parties including the UK and US authorities depicting the severity of the threats involved with ransomware, with examples including and not exclusive to national security threats, child exploitation, bankruptcies and even human trafficking.
Pandemic increases in cyber crime
In the same batch of reports from the RTF, staggering facts and figures have highlighted the fact that online crime, in particular ransomware, tripled in 2020 in comparison to the previous year.
One particular isolated incident in the UK was a large scale attack on the London Borough of Hackney. The local council was alerted to issues with their software which then resulted in a large scale shut down to prevent any further damage being done to the systems.
As a highly complex system, dealing with all kinds of processes for the 300,000 residents, the full lock down of the software resulted in many issues and it could still be some time until the problems are fully rectified.
The FBI in America, have reported that around 2,400 institutions from the healthcare, education and retail sectors were all victim to attacks in 2020.
Capabilities to destroy businesses
Ransomware can vary in severity depending on each case, but in some areas businesses can quite literally be destroyed through the direct results of a hacker.
In May 2019 the Offix Group in Switzerland were hacked into and staff were left helpless as almost the entire system was wiped from their control. Resulting in thousands of orders being affected.
All products were no longer managed by the computer systems, making it nearly impossible for the company to function. A bankruptcy declaration was on the table.
With hackers demanding 45 Bitcoin (at the time worth around half a million), Offix were close to paying up but the damage was so severe, they had to rebuild the system anyway. Equating to pretty much the same cost demanded by the hacker gang.