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UK financial watchdog hit by barrage of malicious emails every month

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(Image credit: Image Credit: Evannovostro / Shutterstock)

In the last three months of 2020, the UK's finance regulator received roughly 2,666 malicious emails every day.

According to a new report from litigation firm Griffin Law, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was the recipient of almost a quarter of a million malicious emails (238,711) in the fourth quarter of the year.

Most of these emails were classified as  spam – marketing and advertising emails that no one subscribed to. However, spam emails can also contain phishing mechanisms, the report stated. Of the circa 240,000 emails, one percent (2,402) were said to potentially contain malware, the FCA explained.

Email scammers were most prolific in November, sending 84,723 malicious emails to the FCA, 831 of which contained malware. Although fewer malicious emails were received in October (81,799), a greater proportion were said to conceal malware attacks (1,003).

For Donal Blaney, Principal at Griffin Law, while the number of attacks against the FCA is “worrying”, the organization did a solid job of protecting itself. The watchdog managed to block all “known” cyberattacks in Q4.

“The negative potential of spam and malware for the rest of us is massive. Obviously, we should all do as the FCA did here: ensure all devices are protected and be vigilant,” he said.

“Check and double-check before clicking, responding or providing personal data. On a larger scale, it’s time we went after the organized criminals behind this scourge on society. Phishing is not a victimless crime and we should be doing more to end it.”