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U.K. Account Takeover Attacks Increased 207 Percent Last Year, Report Says

Online banking fraud increases 132 percent as cybercriminals shift tactics

The poor economy has caused U.K. cybercrime to reach new heights, and users' financial accounts are a chief target, according to a report issued earlier this week.

In its third annual U.K. cybercrime report, Garlik -- a U.K. identity management service provider -- analyzed a wide range publicly available data to build a comprehensive view of cybercrime in the U.K.

The report reveals that cybercriminal tactics are evolving rapidly, as the bad guys adapt to shifts in Internet usage and economic factors. The report also suggests that there is a growing complacency among U.K. consumers, who often don't understand the role they play in protecting their own information.

One of the most significant changes in cybercrime has been a 207 percent increase in account takeover fraud, the report says. "This indicates that criminals have now shifted their efforts from opening new accounts with stolen identities to accessing existing accounts," Garlike says. "Savvy criminals have got around the drying up of available credit in the current economic climate to maintain their illegal activities."

The report also says that U.K. online banking fraud has increased by 132 percent, with financial losses more than doubling from the previous year. "This sharp rise can be mostly attributed to nearly 44,000 phishing Websites specifically targeting banks and building societies in the U.K.," Garlik says.

Despite these spikes in specific attacks, overall cybercrime only increased by about 4 percent in the past year, Garlik says. Several previously popular attacks, such as sexually related offenses, have declined, the report says.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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