Cyber Crime – latest figures highlight the threat to your business

03 Aug 2016
Cyber Crime attacks are increasing, with businesses of all sizes and sectors coming under threat from hackers, fraudsters and overseas cyber criminals.

Cyber Crime groups now target everyone including individuals, SMEs and large multi-national organisations to acquire personal information in order to profit from illegal activities. New figures collated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate that fraud and computer misuse accounted for 5.8 million crimes last year, 2.5 million of which were bank and credit card fraud. Computer virus attacks affected 1.4 million people and almost 650,000 people reporting that their email or social media profile had been hacked.

A recent article in the Telegraph explains these figures in more details, and reports that you are now 20 times more likely to be robbed while at your computer by a criminal based overseas than held up in the street (Click to read the full article). Computer users are therefore urged to take precautions when liaising with other people online and engaging in financial transactions.

Law Firms are a particular target for Cyber Crime. In a feature for the Law Society Gazette, QBE, which insures more than one in 10 law firms in England and Wales, said its latest data shows that around £85m has been stolen across the legal market in the past 18 months. The firm estimates that 150 successful raids have been made on client accounts during that time, with at least 1,500 failed attempts. Only a small proportion of the stolen money, if any, is recovered. In the article, Elina Lusted, a claims manager for QBE, said that while so-called ‘Friday afternoon fraud’ attempts, where con artists pose as lenders or clients over the phone, remain frequent, criminals are now just as likely to hack into firms’ IT systems to steal monies passing between solicitors and their clients in conveyancing transactions.

One of the most worrying figures that we’ve come across is from a study by Intel Security, which reported that internal employees account for 43 percent of data loss, and half of the time these leaks are accidental. Bob Partridge of PDA Legal comments “Most firms conduct training with their new staff, but when we consider that technology has moved on so much in just the past 5 years (since the dawn of iPads/tablets, for instance) can all firms honestly say they have kept up accordingly with their plans and policies, and training their staff?”

Overall, businesses must ensure measures are in place to avoid the risk of falling victim to Cyber Crime. All employees should be kept up to date about of the techniques used by fraudsters and be alert at all times. Businesses should also advise their clients to protect their confidential data and be aware of risks such as using open Wi-Fi.

Inspiring are working with PDA Legal to provide advice and training to legal and professional services firms who are concerned about the threat of Cyber Crime. For more information or to speak to one of consultants, email us at or call us on 0800 612 3098.

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