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UK businesses lost millions to cyber scams in the pandemic

(Image credit: Image Credit: Gustavo Frazao / Shutterstock)

The pandemic has proved a blessing for cybercriminals, many of whom abused the situation to scam (opens in new tab) UK businesses out of funds.

According to cybersecurity firm Nexor, UK firms lost more than $8.12 billion to online scams and fraud in the past year. The records show an increase in cases of almost a third (31 percent) during the most difficult period of the lockdown – May to June.

In total, 3,445 UK businesses reported having been scammed in the last year. Just above half (1,740) of these were reported since the lockdown. In March, there were 237 cases, rising by almost a quarter (23 percent) in June to 291.

Businesses were most often hacked through email or social media-based attacks, resulting in losses of $3.80 million. The second most common type of attack was hacking the company’s servers.

For Sarah Knowles, Senior Security Consultant at Nexor, it’s about identifying key weaknesses and tightening up on security, regardless of whether remote working is set to stay.

“It's important that when we either transition back to our workplaces, or indeed permanently adopt a more remote approach to working, that we don't allow these types of attacks to once again affect our businesses,” she said.

“This comes down to ensuring we invest in staff awareness training so they are vigilant to suspicious emails, calls or texts (opens in new tab), and that the correct reporting processes are followed.“

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.