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Cybercrime cost British businesses over £1 billion last year

New figures released by Get Safe Online and Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, have revealed that cybercrime cost British businesses over in the last year.

In total, businesses reported £1,079,447,765 in loses as a result of cybercrime, which is a 22 per cent increase from the previous year. Each police force in the UK recorded around £19.5 million in losses but this number may in fact be slightly higher as some businesses may not have reported or disclosed the full extent of the losses they incurred to the authorities.

Get Safe Online, the UK's cyber security awareness initiative, believes that businesses need to provide more fraud awareness training to help reduce cybercrime. It noted that a lack of knowledge and poor security practices are the reasons such a substantial amount of fraud is able to occur in the first place.

Of the various types of fraud, Mandate fraud, in which an employee is tricked into changing a standing order or direct debit by someone posing as a supplier, increased the most with a 66 per cent increase in 2015 with 2,323 reported cases.

CEO fraud, which is also called a whaling attack or business email compromise, also rose considerably in the past year. This type of fraud involves an attacker tricking an employee into completing a payment to someone they think is a senior manager via email in order to unlock files held hostage by ransomware.

Concerning the staggering financial burden caused by the rise fraud and cybercrime, Get Safe Online's CEO Tony Neate said: “These latest figures show the enormous, and quite frankly daunting impact online crime can have on a business, its reputation, its employee and even its continued operation. It also highlights the abundance of ways a business can be targeted, both externally, and from within.”

“To tackle this issue head on, businesses need to review their own skills and knowledge, determine if they need outside help, and then create measures to prevent, detect and respond to potential security threats. It’s all about education, and staff must be aware of this plan and trained where necessary.”

Image Credit: hamburg_berlin / Shutterstock

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.