Four out of five cyber attacks can be prevented, Lincolnshire Police warns

A cyber crime expert working for Lincolnshire Police has warned business and residents that they are “all vulnerable”, to malicious malware attacks.

As previously reported, Lincolnshire County Council was targeted by a malicious ‘ransomware’ attack disguised as an email invoice on January 26, bringing up the message ‘give us a million pounds’.

Officers investigating the incident gathered further evidence that the malware was demanding $500 in Bitcoin (a digital asset and payment system), which would increase if not paid.

Police forces are reinforcing their messages on cyber security and protecting computers following services returning to normal at the council.

Detective Sergeant Carole Walton, Regional Cyber-Crime Protect Officer, estimates that around 80% of cyber attacks can be prevented.

She said: “We need to arm people with knowledge and encourage vigilance in the fight against this unseen villain.

“Unfortunately, what happened at Lincolnshire County Council is not uncommon. Far from it. It serves as a reminder that we all need to increase our education and raise our awareness in terms of protecting ourselves and our businesses.

“We need to exercise the caution we apply in ‘real life’ to protecting ourselves and our data online. We would not put all our valuables in a box and store them in an unlocked shed, we understand how to prevent traditional crime and we now need to apply these principles to everything we do online.

“Email is a particular tool that fraudsters use as a means of accessing and ‘tricking’ a potential victim. If you follow some very basic rules you will dramatically decrease you chances of become a victim of fraud or malware.

“Delete spam emails – do not respond or forward them – and never open a link or attachment that you are not sure is genuine. If in any doubt delete.”