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Covid fraud: £34.5m stolen in pandemic scams

March 2021 by Chris Vaughan, Technical Account Manager at Tanium

It was reported today that the City of London police’s Action Fraud team disclosed that £34.5m had been stolen since 1 March 2020. Additionally, it shared that there was a total of 416,000 reports of fraud and cyber-crime – with peaks being April - May 2020 and January 2021.

The comment on this from Chris Vaughan, Technical Account Manager at Tanium:

“Research shows that 90% of cybersecurity breaches suffered by organisations are still being caused by human error which usually involves an employee clicking on a malicious link in an email. The contents of these phishing emails are often centred around a recent event, trend, or news story which encourages people to click on the links. Businesses therefore need to cover the human aspects of cybersecurity to develop a strong level of protection against these attacks and the damage they can cause. This involves ensuring employees have an adequate level of knowledge and training on common threats they should expect to encounter, especially with such a large amount of staff working remotely.

There is a raft of personal devices being used by employees to work from home and this is currently one of the biggest vulnerabilities in IT. If a user falls victim to a Coronavirus themed phishing email on their personal device while connected to the corporate network then the consequences can be severe. This can include sensitive data being taken from the company as well as from the individual. For businesses to operate safely, they need clear oversight of all devices plugged into their networks – only then will they be able to see how much of a system has been affected if an attack breaches their network. This will also allow them to take quick action to fix any issues that do arise.”

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