Anyone who regularly reads the news would be forgiven for thinking that cybercrime was endemic across the world at the moment. Scarcely a week goes by without a new story, and while many of them are newsworthy for only a short time, as these attacks increase in number so will the frequency that they become genuine headline news.
Between May and July this year, the names, social security numbers, and in some cases credit card numbers of over 140 million Americans (almost half of the American population) were stolen from the US credit firm Equifax. In May, a global cyber-attack locked up over 200,000 computers using a ransomware virus, demanding payment in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin in exchange for not erasing data. Notable among the victims was the NHS. September gave us the revelation that Deloitte, a major player in cybersecurity consultancy, had its email server hacked due to the lack of two-step verification.
A choice selection of stories from the last couple of years would include the details of 500 million Yahoo users stolen, 165 million accounts hacked at LinkedIn and similar numbers hacked at Adobe. The list of affected companies and organisations is long – Tesco Bank, the World Anti- Doping Agency, eBay, Target, JP Morgan, Sony, Home Depot, Anthem, Premera Blue Cross – and grows by the month.