Financial data breaches up 1,777pc y-o-y in UK

Financial data belonging to some 42.2 million people in the UK was compromised last year, up a staggering 1,777% from 2.2 million in 2019-20.

International law firm RPC says the huge spike likely reflects an increase in the amount of data compromised, partly because of a greater number of ransomware attacks. These can potentially involve significant quantities of data being copied at the same time as encrypting the target’s data.

Richard Breavington, partner at RPC, says the surprisingly high number of people whose financial data was impacted in the last year shows how cyber attacks have become endemic.

“Hackers are continually refining their methods, employing ever more complex techniques to extort money in whatever way they can. Some businesses, fearing the potential reputational costs, not to mention other consequences, decide that they will take the last ditch approach of paying the ransom demands.”

RPC says the figures show how important it is for businesses to take precautions when processing and storing personal data relating to customers and employees. In addition to investing in robust IT security software, businesses should be careful as to where they hold sensitive data and how these files and folders are organised.

“Before carrying out an attack, hackers are increasingly carrying out reconnaissance to scope out protections that are in place, as well as data held by the company,” Breavington adds. “Businesses should not be making their jobs easier by signposting this information."

These figures are based on data provided to the Information Commissioner’s Office by organisations that suffered a data breach in the year to end June 2021, and may include individuals that had their financial data compromised more than once in unrelated data breaches.

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