Financial Regulator of UK was spammed by almost a quarter of a million (240,000) malicious emails in the Q4 of the year 2020. The FOI data gives important highlights about the tremendous pressure that big organizations are facing to protect their assets. Griffin Law, a litigation firm, has filed an FOI with an influential London-based agency, the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority). As per Gov.UK, “The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates the financial services industry in the UK. Its role includes protecting consumers, keeping the industry stable, and promoting healthy competition between financial service providers.”
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The firm says that FCA was spammed with around 240,000 malicious emails (also unsolicited) during the course of the last three months of 2020, an average of 80,000 emails per month. November observed the highest mails-84,723, whereas October had 81,799 and December 72,288. Most of the mails were listed as “spams” whereas more than 2400 mails had malware containing trojans, bugs, worms, and spyware, says the report. Fortunately, the FCA had blocked all the malicious emails that it received, however, the main threat isn’t from these mails but from targeted spear-phishing campaigns. Tim Saddler, CEO, Tessian, emphasizes that phishing emails have become a persistent threat today because it is easy to target humans than to hack machines.
Tim said, “cyber-criminals, undoubtedly, want to get hold of the huge amounts of valuable and sensitive information that FCA staff have access to, and they have nothing but time on their hands to figure out how to get it.” He further says, “it just takes a bit of research, one convincing message or one cleverly worded email, and a distracted employee to successfully trick or manipulate someone into sharing company data or handing over account credentials.”
This is not the first time when the Regulator has sidelined its cybersecurity issue. In February last year, Regulator had to apologize on public forums when it accidentally posted personal information (including name and address) of the few users who had lodged complaints against the agency. The irony is, the data leak happened as a Regular’s solution to an FOI request.
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