14 Aug 2017 - By
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Cyber crime in Scotland

In the future when we look back on 2017 there will be several key talking points, among which are President Trump, this year’s General Election, Brexit and cyber crime. These have all dominated the headlines at different points this year but on Friday May 12 it was the WannaCry cyber attack that was in the spotlight.

Hackers took out an estimated 200,000 computers in 150 countries as the ransomware spread like wildfire across the globe, taking computers hostage and demanding money for files to be returned. Cyber attacks are becoming more common but for many it was the first time they had experienced this form of cyber crime. Among the victims of Wannacry, were 11 out of 14 of Scotland’s health boards, which saw disruption to patients.

Since WannaCry it has been revealed that 60% of Scottish councils and half of Scotland’s health boards have experienced some form of cyber attack since 2014.

During this period Aberdeen City Council has suffered 12 successful hacks including ransomware and having its webpage vandalised. In the final eight months of 2016 alone it recorded 15 MILLION different attempts at hacks. Perth and Kinross Council reportedly blocks an around 1.2 million spam emails every month.

Whilst they have become so common that many have become complacent about them, spam emails are nonetheless extremely dangerous. They can carry malicious downloads or be used for Phishing, which may result in the unsuspecting user revealing sensitive information to malicious parties.

Overall, 19 out of Scotland’s 32 councils have experienced an attempted or successful attack since 2014 and, with the threat of cyber crime becoming more common, it appears likely this number is only set to grow over time.

It’s not just health boards and councils either; nine universities have experienced some form of cyber crime during this time period. In April it was revealed that nearly half of businesses in the UK have been subject to some form of attempted or successful cyber crime over the past year.

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