There are now more cybercrimes being recorded in north Wales than those in the offline world, according to the local police and crime commissioner (PCC) for the area.
North Wales PCC Arfon Jones claimed that while traditional crimes such as burglary and shoplifting had decreased over the past decade, online crime has made up for the shortfall.
Businesses are most at risk, with ransomware in particular soaring, he told the North Wales Business Club on Monday, according to the BBC.
Police in the region apparently deal with at least one such reported incident a week.
Jones’ colleague, detective sergeant Peter Jarvis of the cybercrime team, warned firms to put more effort into protection and staff training, admitting: "It's very unlikely you will find the person responsible, they don't leave a footprint.”
The trend in north Wales is likely to be repeated across the globe, although in some cases cyber-criminals mix on- and offline tactics, such as cold calling their victims to gain their trust, according to Kaspersky Lab principal security researcher, David Emm.
“Therefore, we all need to be aware of the cybersecurity threats being carried out around us, with more attempts than ever to steal money, personal and corporate information or to extort money by holding data captive,” he cautioned.
“It is vital that people and businesses use a reliable internet security solution on all connected devices, apply security updates as soon as they become available, download software only from trusted sources – such as official app stores and vendors – and be cautious about email and other messages that include attachments and links – even if they appear to come from friends or trusted business contacts.”
Emm added that businesses should also enforce the use of strong passwords, be cautious when using public Wi-Fi networks, and regularly back-up data to mitigate the threat of ransomware.
“[It] should be as intrinsic as locking the doors of your house and keeping valuables out of sight,” he argued.
There were 5.8 million recorded fraud and computer misuse incidents in the year up to March 2016, although many more victims may be unaware they’ve been targeted or unwilling to report to the police, according to the Office of National Statistics.