UK National Crime Agency Report Warns of Increase in Cyber Threats

British authorities seem to be aware of the fact that cybercrime will be increasingly problematic in the upcoming period.

The report highlights five main types of cyber threats:

  • – large-scale harvesting of personal and business data for fraud against individuals and organizations;
  • – attacks whose goal is to delete, modify or steal data to gain competitive advantage, gain control of infrastructure, damage reputations, or undermine user confidence;
  • – disruption of access to systems with the aid of distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks;
  • – the increasing use of the services offered on the cybercrime marketplaces by traditional crime groups
  • – the increasing use of support services critical to the success of cyber-dependent crimes by other crime actors.

Of these five threats, only the first is likely to remain constant, the rest are either increasing or likely to increase in the next one to three years, according to the NCA’s report.

When it comes to cyber-dependent crimes carried out by traditional crime groups, the agency highlights the limited capacity and capability of law enforcement to respond. It also emphasizes the increasing gap between the capabilities of law enforcement and criminals.

“Specialist service providers and bespoke toolkits are opening opportunities for those criminals who have limited technical competence. Different organised crime groups who share the use of key criminal technical and other infrastructures is a growing threat. Criminal online forums provide a market place for the trading of such services,” the report reads.

“Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) protocols capable of launching powerful attacks against business critical systems are increasing in numbers. These tools, coupled with better understanding of the financial and reputational damage they can cause, are increasing the industry’s perception of DDOS as a significant threat.”

The NCA says that it’s currently difficult to estimate the costs of cybercrime, but the agency notes that it could “reasonably be assessed” at several billion pounds each year.

Many recent studies conducted by third-party security companies have shown that the UK is among the most targeted countries in Europe. For instance, the Regional Advanced Threat Report published by FireEye earlier this week shows that the largest number of malware infections have been spotted in the UK.

Furthermore, the country takes the second place when it comes to the highest advanced persistent threat (APT) activity.

The National Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organised Crime 2014 report is available on the NCA’s website.

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