Ransomware and other situations in which criminals threaten to expose unlawfully obtained sensitive information unless the victim pays a payment are examples of cyber extortion.

In addition, there was an 8% increase in reports from people who have been the victims of social media and email hacking, jumping from 13,500 in 2021 to 14,600 in 2022.

This kind of fraud frequently entails hackers gaining access to a trusted person’s email account, such as a lawyer, accountant, or vendor, and then exploiting emails from that account to dupe the victim into paying money to the fraudster’s bank account.

According to Richard Breavington, partner, and head of cyber and tech insurance at RPC, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individuals are anticipated to make up the majority of culprits in cyber extortion.

Breavington stated: “It is a concern that the number of victims of cyber extortion are still rising. While successful cyberattacks against larger organisations have fallen over the last year, many SMEs and individuals still haven’t taken the initial steps needed to manage risk. SMEs trying to reduce costs and not investing in properly training staff on how to manage data and avoid phishing attacks is a false economy. There are an increasing number of cyber insurance policies available, some of which are aimed at SMEs that cover the cost of dealing with a data breach.  However, some of these policies will require basic security steps to have been taken.  Insurance cover isn’t going to completely remove the impact of a data breach such as reputational damage but will allow a business to get back on its feet faster.”

Other types of cybercrime have also begun to decline, such as malware reports, which dropped 26% from 7,200 in 2021 to 5,300 in 2022.

There were 10% fewer (5,800 vs. 5,200) reports of servers, computers, and phones being hacked.