UK businesses under attack from phishing scams

More attacks are focused on companies in the UK than any other country

UK businesses are the most targeted by phishing attacks across the entire world, new research has found.

In its latest annual Internet Security Threat Report, which examines global threat trends for the whole of the past year, the UK ranked number one for phishing attacks both in Europe and worldwide.

The country also holds the ignoble position of being the European country whose citizens are most likely to be targeted in a social media scam and rates third globally.

But UK residents are not just more likely to be targeted in cyber attacks.

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According to Symantec's figures, the UK ranks number three both in Europe and worldwide as a source of attacks.

That does not mean the UK is brimming with cyber criminals, however.

Speaking to IT Pro, Sin John, chief strategist for EMEA at Symantec, said: "Being a source doesn't just mean that you've got criminals, it means actually that if you get infected then you might become a source spreading to other people."

Similarly, John explained that if you host a website and it becomes infected then that would also count as a source of malware.

"It's as much about being a victim if you're the top source as well," she said.

As for why UK residents are among the countries most targeted by cyber criminals, John explained that at least part of the reason is how much of day-to-day life is carried out online in this country.

"We do a lot of online shopping, we have a higher level of online banking, which means that your chances of success as a cyber criminal are higher," John said.

Turning to the issue of spearphishing, she added: "We have a lot of global organisations based out of the UK, a lot of organisations that transfer a lot of digital money, so I think it's as much about the profile of the victim and the chance of success ... than necessarily being more nave than others."

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