Calls to Incident Response Helpline Double in a Year

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Calls to a Scottish non-profit incident response center have more than doubled over the past year, indicating a potentially sharp rise in fraud and cybercrime in the region.

The Cyber and Fraud Centre Incident Response Helpline is a collaborative effort between the Cyber and Fraud Centre – Scotland, Police Scotland and the Scottish government. It’s designed to offer expert technical and legal help to organizations struggling in the aftermath of a security breach or fraud incident.

The number of calls it received grew from 123 in 2022/23 to 263 in 2023/24 and is expected to continue growing during the coming year – driven especially by an uptick in ransomware.

Just yesterday NHS Dumfries and Galloway confirmed that patient data had been leaked online by a “recognized ransomware group” following its notification of a serious incident earlier in the month.

Inc Ransom warned on its leak site that it will soon publish 3TB of data relating to NHS Scotland patients and staff unless its demands are met.

Read more on ransomware threats: Scottish Agency Still Recovering from 2020 Ransomware Attack.

According to the Cyber and Fraud Centre, Black Basta, LockBit and Akira were the most common groups reported to the incident helpline over the past year.

The center also revealed it has worked on serious cyber-enabled fraud cases worth £26m ($33m) over the past year, alongside partners including Police Scotland, the City of London Police and banks such as Barclays, NatWest and Lloyds.

The Fraud Triage Hub worked on 153 cases during that time – most of which were investment fraud, business email compromise (BEC), impersonation fraud and redirection/safe account scams.

Investment fraud and BEC were the top two highest-grossing cybercrime types of 2023, according to FBI figures. Collectively, they garnered over $7.5bn for cybercriminals.

Fortunately, the hub was able to block or return the majority (£16.2m) of the funds related to cases it investigated.

“These figures for both cyber and cyber-enabled crime are staggering – and we must remind ourselves that these are only the reported statistics,” argued Jude McCorry, CEO of the Cyber and Fraud Centre – Scotland.

“There will be many more instances of these crimes that we are not aware of. Ransomware attacks have been ramping up over the last month and we think we will see that trend continue to grow over the coming months.”

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