*****India among top five victims of cybercrime: FBI report – The Hindu BusinessLine

Clipped from: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/info-tech/india-among-top-five-victims-of-cybercrime-fbi-report/article65475805.ece

Among the complaints received, ransomware, business e-mail compromise schemes, and the criminal use of cryptocurrency were among the top incidents reported 

India is ranked among the top five countries in terms of total cybercrime victims, as per a report by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report 2021, India has been ranked among the top five countries by the number of total victims compared to the United States, accounting for 3,131 cybercrime in 2021.

The United States and the United Kingdom recorded the highest cybercrime victims in the year at 466,501 and 303,949, respectively. The United Kingdom was followed by Canada with 5,788 total victims. Australia ranked behind India with 2,204 victims.

“In 2021, America experienced an unprecedented increase in cyber-attacks and malicious cyber activity. These cyber-attacks compromised businesses in an extensive array of business sectors as well as the American public,” Paul Abbate, Deputy Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) provides the American public with a direct outlet to report cybercrimes to the FBI. It analyses and investigates the reporting to track the trends and threats from cybercriminals.

As per the report., IC3 continued to receive complaints from the American public in 2021 with 847,376 reported complaints, a 7 per cent increase from 2020, with potential losses exceeding $6.9 billion.

Key trends 

Among the complaints received in 2021, ransomware, business e-mail compromise (BEC) schemes, and the criminal use of cryptocurrency were among the top incidents reported. 

BEC schemes resulted in 19,954 complaints during the year with an adjusted loss of nearly $2.4 billion. 

“BEC/EAC is a sophisticated scam targeting both businesses and individuals performing transfers of funds. The scam is frequently carried out when a subject compromises legitimate business email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to conduct unauthorised transfers of funds,” the report explained. 

The IC3 received 34,202 complaints involving the use of some type of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, or Ripple in 2021. While that number declined from 2020’s victim count (35,229), the  total reported losses increased nearly seven-fold, from  $246,212,432 reported in 2020 to more than $1.6 billion in 2021.

It received 3,729 complaints identified as ransomware with adjusted losses of over $49.2 million.

In June 2021, the IC3 began tracking reported ransomware incidents wherein the victim was a member of a critical infrastructure sector. 

“There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on our security, national economy, public health or safety, or any combination thereof,” it said.

The IC3 received 23,903 complaints pertaining to Tech Support Fraud from victims in 70 countries in 2021 with losses amounting to over $347 million, a 137 per cent increase in from 2020. A majority t of victims (almost 60 per cent) were reported to be over 60 years of age, and experienced at least 68 per cent of the losses (almost $238 million). 

“Tech Support Fraud involves a criminal claiming to provide customer, security, or technical support or service to defraud unwitting individuals. Criminals may pose as support or service representatives offering to resolve such issues as a compromised email or bank account, a virus on a computer, or a software license renewal,” it explained. 

“Many victims report being directed to make wire transfers to overseas accounts or purchase large amounts of prepaid cards,” it added. 

Further, it received reports from 24,299 victims who experienced more than $956 million in losses to Confidence Fraud/Romance scams. This type of fraud accounted for the third-highest losses reported by victims.

“Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and confidence. The scammer uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim,” as per the report. 

Overall, over the last five years, the IC3 has received an average of 552,000 complaints per year.  Between, 2017-2021, IC3 has received a total of 2,760,044 complaints, reporting a loss of $18.7 billion.

The report also highlighted the top types of crimes reported. Phishing/Vishing/ Smishing/Pharming was the top crime type with 323,972 reports received in 2021. It was followed by Non-Payment/Non-Delivery, Personal Data Breach, Identity Theft and Extortion with 82,478, 51,829, 51,629 and 39,360 reports received, respectvely.

Published on May 30, 2022

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