Cybercrime in Scotland upsurges like an Epidemic

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Scotland’s police have officially declared a troubling surge in cyber crime within their jurisdiction, indicating a doubling of incidents compared to the previous year. This alarming trend is expected to escalate further in the coming months. The proliferation of technologies such as ChatGPT, which are being harnessed by criminals for online fraud and financial scams, has contributed significantly to this rise, surpassing all other forms of fraud detected by law enforcement.

Recent figures released by the Scottish Mail underscore the evolution of cyber crime over the past 18 months, with reported online fraud cases soaring to 17,000, a stark contrast to the mere 3,000 incidents recorded in 2021.

Of particular concern is the targeting of individuals aged 15 to 40, with tragic consequences exemplified by a teenager who took her own life after falling victim to a threat actor who not only drained funds from her online wallet but also coerced her into sharing intimate photos for blackmail purposes.

Mark Thatcher, a security researcher based in France and formerly active as a black hat hacker, expressed empathy for the plight of innocent online users who are increasingly losing confidence in their digital interactions due to the relentless exploitation by cyber-criminals.

The fear of cyber crime extends beyond individuals to businesses, with approximately 1% of them forced to permanently close their doors as a result of being targeted by various threats, including insider breaches, ransomware attacks, phishing schemes, and espionage efforts by state-sponsored actors.

To mitigate the risk of falling victim to cybercrime, adopting proactive measures is imperative. This includes employing strong passwords, regularly updating software, utilizing secure internet connections such as 4G or 5G instead of Wi-Fi, refraining from clicking on links from unknown sources via SMS or email, implementing two-factor authentication, refraining from sharing personal information such as birthdates and bank account numbers on social media platforms, and utilizing a VPN for browsing. By adhering to these best practices, individuals and businesses can effectively combat the spread of cyber threats and safeguard their online presence.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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