HM Treasury Hit by Five Million Malicious Emails in Past Three Years

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Her Majesty’s Treasury, the UK government department responsible for the nation’s economic policy, has been hit by nearly five million malicious email attacks in the past three years, according to official figures.

The data obtained by the think tank Parliament Street following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request showed that 4,870,389 phishing, malware and spam emails targeting HM Treasury were successfully blocked in this period.

This was comprised of 1,271,207 malicious email attacks from October 2018 to September 2019, 1,918,944 between October 2019 to September 2020, and 1,680 from October 2020 to September 2021.

The news comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak prepares to deliver the UK government’s annual budget, which is expected to include pledges around cybersecurity, such as funding to reduce the digital skills gap.

The figures highlight the growing determination of cyber-criminals to access and steal confidential government data. Earlier this week, Parliament Street revealed that more than 126 million malicious emails had been fired at House of Commons inboxes this year, a 358% increase on the total figure for 2020.

There was no data on how many threats slipped past email filters over this period.

Commenting on the figures, Chris Ross, SVP International for Barracuda Networks, said: “The ever-present cyber threat facing public sector organizations is not going to disappear any time soon. In fact, recent trends indicate that cyber-attacks are likely to become more sophisticated, and criminals will find new ways to breach systems, disrupt apps and websites, and steal sensitive data.

“This is why it is imperative the organizations defend themselves from all angles, with web application firewalls, to protect cloud infrastructure and network, email inbox defense software, to help defend against the onslaught of phishing attacks targeting employees, and a third party data backup solution, to protect data and organizations against the growing ransomware threat.”

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