Almost every Briton has been a victim of cybercrime, says UK police chief

Half of all UK companies experienced cybercrime in the past two years

News / Almost every Briton has been a victim of cybercrime, says UK police chief

Almost every Briton has been a victim of cybercrime, says UK police chief

Cybercrime, the fastest-growing and the most complex form of volume crime, has victimised almost every person in the UK, says UK Chief Constable Peter Goldman.

Goldman said that personal data of almost every Briton has been stolen and sold on the Dark Web and that he himself is a victim of cybercrime.

In a reflection of how successful small and large businesses and other data handlers in the UK have been in protecting customer data in the past, the UK Chief Constable has said that cybercrime has spared no one, and that personal details of almost every Briton is being sold on the Dark Web.

'Cybercrime is the "fastest-growing, most complex, difficult form of volume crime we've ever seen,' said Goldman, who also leads the National Police Chief Council's fight against cybercrime.

'I can almost guarantee that every single one of you around this table has had a data breach against you and that some of your personal data is held somewhere on the dark web and is being sold, traded—are you happy with that? And you probably don't know about it,' said Goldman while addressing a media briefing.

Goldman also bemoaned the fact thar most citizens find out that they have been hacked only after checking certain websites that contain details of breached accounts. This is because a large number of businesses have not been transparent in disclosing incidents of data breach and the impact of each incident.

Both Goldman and Oliver Gower, head of the National Cyber Crime Unit, told the media during the briefing that Russian-speaking nations have been the principle threat for cybercrime, and that a number of Russian actors had been apprehended by the Police.

Their admission came a few days after Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre, also accused Russia of sponsoring cyber-attacks on the UK's energy, media and telecommunication industries to undermine the international system.

'The prime minister made the point on Monday night - international order as we know it is in danger of being eroded. This is clearly a cause for concern and the NCSC is actively engaging with international partners, industry and civil society to tackle this threat,' he said at an event organised by The Times.

Commenting on the admission from the UK Police Chief, Mark James - Security Specialist at ESET, says that the information isn't surprising at all.

'The public are often unaware of two key factors of data breaches- the first is the fact that almost everyone with some kind of online presence will have suffered a data leak of varying degrees at some point; that might be simply an email breach or the full hoard of private data including DOB, address, phone numbers and may even include very personal medical history.

'Secondly, how the data breach affects them; the average member of the public has no real correlation of the consequences of a data breach, how it’s used and how it directly connects to them- we already get so much spam and phishing attacks, so “does it really matter?",' he adds.

'The fact that we are not experiencing an identity theft epidemic would suggest that the most sensitive of personal data remains safe – for now – but even a quick glance at a site such as haveibeenpwned.com would suggest that many millions of email addresses are known to the bad guys, along with a plethora of usernames,' says Lee Munson, Security Researcher at Comparitech.com.

'The top cop’s assertion that companies should be more transparent about successful attacks against personal data is, therefore, a sound one that I hope is taken seriously as we move into an era where such information has an ever-increasing value to anyone who can get their hands on it.'

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Jay Jay

Jay has been a technology reporter for almost a decade. When not writing about cybersecurity, he writes about mobile technology for the likes of Indian Express, TechRadar India and Android Headlines

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