NI businesses lost £2m to cyber crime last year

Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Grant, of the PSNI Special Investigations and Cyber Crime Centre.  
 
Picture by Kelvin Boyes /Press Eye.

Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Grant, of the PSNI Special Investigations and Cyber Crime Centre. Picture by Kelvin Boyes /Press Eye.

Businesses in Northern Ireland lost more than £2m to online crime last year, according to new figures.

The data, send out by the PSNI, show 247 cases were reported with total losses amounting to £2,152,343 between March 2015 to March 2016.

Police believe the overall losses could be higher, as these figures do not take into account the amount potentially lost by those businesses who choose not to report online crime to the police.

Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Grant, from PSNI Cyber Crime Centre, said: “While these figures are below the national average, they are a cause for concern and they highlight how local businesses need to train their staff to spot warning signs.”

Nationally, online losses last year amounted to £1 billion with 37,000 cases reported – a 22 per cent increase. On average, each police force in the UK recorded over £19 million in losses by businesses in their area.

The internet security awareness initiative Get Safe Online believes businesses need to do more to ensure staff have appropriate online fraud awareness training, so that everyone understands their role in keeping the business secure. A substantial amount of attempted fraud against businesses is successful due to lack of knowledge or sloppy habits by employees.

Online crimes businesses must watch out for

Business email compromise is becoming an increasingly worrying issue for businesses. This occurs when a fraudster gets victims to change a direct debit or standing order by pretending to be an organisation a victim makes regular payments to, for example, a business supplier or subscription service. It’s an extremely targeted approach, with 30 cases reported in Northern Ireland alone in the last year, and £768,115 lost to it by businesses in the area.