Brexit could lead to rise in cybercrime say experts

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The UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) has understandably caused millions of Remain voters to fret over trade relationships and the national economy. Now experts have warned of something else to be concerned about: cybersecurity.

In a recent interview with ibtimes.co.uk, the experts in question – Eset security researcher Stephen Cobb, CounterTrack chief technology officer Mike Davis and Cyphort co-founder and chief strategy officer Dr Fengmin Gong – all agreed that a ‘Brexit’ would likely bring worrying implications for web users.

Both Gong and Cobb said the odds of cybercrime increasing in the aftermath of a departure could be “significant”, with the former explaining: “Historically we have seen cybercrime rise after large natural disasters and events impacting world economy; Brexit qualifies for the latter.”

Curo IT Support has been managing business networks in Essex for over 10 years and can stand testament to these claims. From scams relating to HMRC refunds at tax year end to bogus charity appeals following events such as the Japanese tsunami, our support team has seen constant innovation by cybercriminals looking for new ways to target users.

Beware of bogus emails related to Brexit

Regarding Brexit, Davis went further to suggest that hackers would take advantage of any confusion around laws changing during the transition. Their attacks would most likely take the form of targeted phishing campaigns, he added.

brexit The predictions may focus on potential activity after Article 50 is triggered, but it seems not all cybercriminals are happy to wait. There were reports earlier this month that email scammers have already started preying on Britons’ Brexit concerns by sending spam messages with fearmongering subject lines such as “Brexit causes historic market drop” – opening them triggers the download of malicious software, which is used by hackers to monitor users’ behaviour and steal personal data.

Ironically, the worries and spikes come as the European Commission lays out plans to tackle cybercrime across the continent. An agreement signed this month will see €450 million in funding being used to help businesses, universities and researchers investigate the latest cybersecurity problems, with the goal of strengthening defences for member nations.

Unless suitable deals are negotiated by new Prime Minister Theresa May and her team, the UK’s decision to leave the European Union is likely to mean it won’t benefit from the initiative; another bitter blow for the country’s tech sector.