At a glance.
- Trends in data breaches.
- Phishing scams and parcel delivery.
- Espionage services are interested in private individuals.
Q2, 2021 data breach trends.
Based on statistics collected by the Identity Theft Resource Center, researchers at Atlas VPN examine data compromise trends for the first half of 2021. Personal data breaches this quarter have risen 38% over last quarter, from 355 compromises to nearly 500. Conversely, the number of individuals impacted has fallen 20%. The most popular threat vectors were phishing, ransomware, or malware attacks, and the healthcare and finance sectors were the hardest hit. Next in line was the manufacturing and utility industry, likely due to an increase in automation and IOT tech in this sector, giving intruders numerous points of entry.
Phishing scams are part and parcel of package delivery.
Home delivery scams are on the rise, especially given society’s reliance on online ordering during the pandemic, and Naked Security reports that delivery fraudsters have grown more sophisticated in recent months. One recent example, a smishing operation revolving around fake package delivery notifications, demonstrates that criminals have learned simplicity is the best policy. As the approach hinges on mimicking the legitimate notification process as closely as possible, less creativity on the scammer’s part translates to more success. Complete with a convincing URL and realistic tracking details (and a lack of the typical tell-tale grammatical errors), the operation simulates authentic notifications right up until the target is forced to reschedule the delivery, at which point the victim unwittingly hands over their address and payment card info. The scam illustrates the importance of checking the validity of every link, even when it comes from a seemingly trusted source.
Spies target UK citizens for espionage.
The United Kingdom is warning private citizens they could be targeted online by foreign operatives, SkyNews reports. MI5 Director-general Ken McCallum says that over 10,000 foreign spies have contacted UK citizens -- in particular, university faculty and business people with access to corporate or academic research -- in an effort to manipulate them into sharing valuable secrets. "Given half a chance, hostile actors will short-circuit years of patient British research or investment," he explains. This tactic, while technically not an act of war, is nonetheless detrimental to national security. McCallum’s aim is to increase public awareness of the growing threat in order to urge citizens to be vigilant. "To speak directly: if you are working in a high-tech business; or engaged in cutting-edge scientific research; or exporting into certain markets, you will be of interest - more interest than you might think - to foreign spies,” he stated. “You don't have to be scared, but be switched on."