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London UK’s most attacked region, over 5,000 cybercrimes reported in 2021

Mar 08, 20223 mins

Cybercriminals targeted the country’s wealthiest areas. Email/social media hacking and malware were the most common attack methods in 2021.

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Cybersecurity vendor ESET has revealed that London was the most attacked region in the UK last year. The data comes from the firm’s cybercrime cities report, which studies the state and trends of cybercrime across the UK. It showed that there were 5,258 instances of cybercrime reported in London in 2021 as cybercriminals targeted the country’s wealthiest areas. The capital was followed by the West Midlands (1,242) and Thames Valley (1,142) as the next most targeted UK regions.

Cybercriminals target wealthiest UK regions, attack rates drop

“Looking at the data from the report, we can see clearly that the wealthiest areas of the country are the most heavily targeted for cybercrime,” ESET wrote in a blog post. The seven most targeted areas fall within the top ten wealthiest counties by gross value added (GVA) per capita and five of the top ten most targeted areas rank within the top ten wealthiest counties by gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.

“While this is not unexpected, it shows clearly that cybercriminals are taking aim at the bigger fish in the pond,” ESET said. Generally, the UK saw a slight decrease of 2.97% in the number of cybercrimes committed in 2021 compared to 2020. The areas with the biggest decrease in cybercrime were Gloucestershire (down by 31.56%), Northumbria (31.49%), and Wiltshire (30.59%). There were only three areas that saw an increase in cybercrime reports, which were Norfolk (up by 19.83%), Nottinghamshire (0.52%), and Northamptonshire (0.25%).

Email/social media hacking and malware most common cyberattacks

ESET’s research indicated that email/social media hacking and malware were the most common attack methods used in the UK last year, accounting for 53.1% and 28% of all reported cybercrimes, respectively. Personal hacking came in third accounting for 19.3% of cybercrimes.

Commenting on the findings, ESET cybersecurity specialist Jake Moore says, “Knowledge is the key to reducing cybercrime and with this noticeable shift in offences reported year on year, it is starting to suggest that people are becoming more savvy at spotting scams and keeping their wits about them.” However, as social media and email hacking remains the biggest threat across the country, people need to remember to implement basic security measures to combat attacks with password managers and by turning on multi-factor authentication for all online accounts, he adds.

“Although statistics show a decrease in actual numbers, sophisticated and targeted intrusion are still on the rise, so we mustn’t become complacent,” Moore tells CSO. “Opportunist hackers who used to dominate may well have skewed the figures as the holes they once exploited have been patched over recent years. Advanced persistent threats and the evolving threat landscape continues to cause disruption and remain a thorn in CISOs’ sides.”

UK Editor

Michael Hill is the UK editor of CSO Online. He has spent the past 8 years covering various aspects of the cybersecurity industry, with particular interest in the ever-evolving role of the human-related elements of information security. A keen storyteller with a passion for the publishing process, he enjoys working creatively to produce media that has the biggest possible impact on the audience.

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