2020 broke all records for cybercrime. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual report, there were nearly 800,000 complaints about various cyber incidents last year, a 69 percent increase over 2019.
For the fifth year in a row, the FBI recorded an increase in crimes and increasing monetary losses. In 2020, victims reported more than $4.2 billion in losses.
The most common tactics
Cybercriminals often use COVID-19 in their criminal schemes. For example, contacting people via social media, email, or phone calls, posing as government representatives who collect data because of the pandemic. With the advent of the vaccine, victims also received an offer to pay for the “ injection“ out of turn.
Email fraud (Email Account Compromise and Business Email Compromise) has caused the most problems. In other words, the email account of one of the company’s employees was hacked and used to send fake emails to colleagues or partners. Hackers used social engineering techniques – under pressure, victims were persuaded to transfer funds to fictitious accounts under the guise of false invoices and fictitious transactions. That’s how the cybercriminals made $1.8 billion! The criminals used stolen identities to create bank accounts and receive funds then converted the money into cryptocurrency.
According to the FBI, ransomware attacks have become active. In 2020, such crimes increased by 225%, and losses rose to $29 million.
We cannot claim that the data provided by the bureau is very accurate. Not all companies that have suffered cyber attacks report what happened to the authorities. Many of them quietly pay ransoms and never articulated it to their customers and partners.