Cyber attacks

Cyber attacks and cyber crime can be financially devastating, disrupting and upsetting to people and businesses. Cyber crime costs the UK billions of pounds, causes untold damage, and threatens national security.

There are a number of different types of cyber crime:

  • Ransomware – a type of malicious software (malware) that threatens to publish or blocks access to data or a computer system, usually by encrypting it, until the victim pays a ransom fee to the attacker.
  • Hacking – including of social media and email passwords.
  • Phishing – bogus emails asking for security information and personal details.
  • Malicious software – including ransomware through which criminals hijack files and hold them to ransom.
  • Distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks against websites – often accompanied by extortion.

Ransomware remains the greatest cyber crime threat in the UK. Its use threatens Critical National Infrastructure and poses a risk to national security. Ransomware attacks can have a significant impact on victims due to financial, data and service losses, which can lead to business closure, inaccessible public services and compromised customer data.

Organisations such as the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) work to understand cyber security and provide practical guidance for individuals and organisations in the UK, both in the public and private sector.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) also works to put an end to cyber crime, working closely with the police, regional crime units, and partners in international law enforcement to share intelligence and coordinate action.

If you need to report a cyber incident, please visit the UK Government’s guidance page – Where to report a cyber incident.