Analysis reveals a 227% increase in coronavirus related fraud cases reported to the UK’s NECC

IT firm DSA Connect expects a huge increase in data breaches by British organisations as a result of the fall-out from the Coronavirus crisis.

It warns this could add millions of pounds to the losses incurred by employers from the virus, but the true cost could take some time to unfold after the worst of the crisis is over, because many data breaches can take 100 days or more to be discovered.

Many fraudsters or ‘bad actors’, are using Covid-19 as a hook to enhance their cyber- attack strategies.

Analysis reveals the number of Covid-19 specific fraud reports registered with the National Economic Crime Centre in March was 277% higher than for the six weeks to 18th March. Last month, Coronavirus accounted from around one in 20 frauds registered with the Centre.

DSA Connect says the increase in data breaches will be fuelled by a dramatic rise in phishing websites, depleted workforces and employees having to work from home, where they are more susceptible to cyber-attacks.

Phishing has risen by 350% since the coronavirus outbreak started (between January to March 2020), according to data gathered and analysed by Atlas VPN.

Harry Benham, chairman of DSA Connect said: “In the privacy of their own homes, employees are more likely to visit dubious websites, and working from home also makes it harder to be sure of the identity of people contacting you who don’t work for the same organisation as you.”

“Face-to-face business meetings have been replaced by telephone or video calls, and because of this employees are at greater risk of fraudsters ‘spear phishing’, which is the fraudulent practice of sending emails ostensibly from a known or trusted sender in order to encourage targeted individuals to reveal confidential information, or ‘whaling’ frauds, which are phishing attacks directed specifically at senior executives.

“In the wake of Coronavirus and with more people working from home, fraudsters have stepped up their targeting of companies and their employees, and this dramatically increases the chances of data breaches.”