U.K. Residents Experience a 116% Increase in Nuisance Calls, Texts, and Emails in 2021
New data from the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) shows a massive
rise in the first six months of this year – and the belief that cyberattacks are to blame.
According to data publicly-released by the ICO and analysed by U.K. litigation firm Griffin Law shows that in the first six months of 2021, the ICO received an average of 13,925 nuisance complaints monthly, compared to only an average of 8,680 monthly reports throughout all of 2020. This 60% increase is dwarfed by the total number of complaints reported in the first half of 2020 (38,269) when compared with the same timeframe in 2021 (83,558), representing an increase of 116%!
While many of these nuisance communications may purely be solicitations by businesses, security experts see the increase stemming from increases in social engineering and phishing scams beginning in 2020. In an interview with Infosecurity Magazine, Ed Blake, area vice president EMEA for Absolute Software, explained: “’Nuisance’ contact has become synonymous with malicious cyber-attack attempts, which usually starts with a phishing, spam or malware email or text, sent to a recipient under the guise of a legitimate service or brand name. This is not to say that all reports of nuisance contact have malicious undertones, but it is certainly something that end-users and business decision-makers must be aware of, particularly as the remote working climate has increased the cyber threat facing businesses.”
The concern for businesses is the all-too familiar use of spoofing a brand, domain, or individual to establish legitimacy in phishing attacks. The increase in nuisance communications indicates many more individuals and businesses getting in the game of trying to trick their “victim”; there’s no reason not to assume that some of those folks will see the value of simply becoming a Ransomware-as-a-Service affiliate instead (same work, larger pay-out).
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