Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey is a study of UK businesses, charities and education institutions. It was carried out in winter 2020/21

In the survey, micro business means 1-9 employees, small is 10-49, medium is 50–249 and large is 250 upwards.

On average, 39% of businesses and 26% of charities report having cyber security breaches or attacks in the last 12 months. The figures are higher in medium and large organisations as they are more often targeted by criminals.

However, evidence from the study suggests that the risk level is potentially higher than ever under COVID-19, and that businesses are finding it harder to administer cyber security measures during the pandemic.

Key Points For Business That Have Identified Breaches or Attacks

  • 27% of these businesses and 23% of these charities experience such attacks at least once a week. The most common by far are phishing attacks (83% and 79% respectively), followed by impersonation (27% and 23%).
  • A sizeable number of these organisations report that costs are substantial.
  • 21% and 18% respectively of businesses and charities end up losing money, data or other assets.
  • 35% of businesses and 40% of charities report being negatively impacted e.g. because they require new post-breach measures, have staff time diverted or suffer wider business disruption.
  • The mean cost of all the cyber security breaches these businesses have experienced in the past 12 months is estimated to be £8,460. For medium and large firms combined, this average cost is £13,400.

77% of businesses say cyber security is a high priority for their directors or senior managers, while 68% of charities say this of their trustees.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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The Wine Diet

Scammers keep coming up with new and even more ridiculous supposed diets that make you lose tons of weight in no time at all.

This latest one is the Wine diet and the email title is ‘Wine Melts Fat’.

“Top doctors and nutritionists still cannot believe their eyes…”

“As more and more people are losing up to 2 pounds each day with this recently discovered weight-loss method.”

It claims that all you have to do is drink wine in a specific way and at the right time of day and the fat will simply melt away. No need for restricted eating or exercise – just follow the simple wine ritual.

There are many people desperate for a diet that is easy to follow but of course to lose weight you have to eat fewer calories than you use in your day’s activities.

Wine contains calories – a 750 mls bottle of red wine has about 650 calories.

There isn’t anything in wine that can make you lose weight – the whole idea is pathetically stupid.

But scammers don’t care how stupid an idea is as long as someone responds to their claims and hands over their money or personal information.

The second half of the email is actually sections taken from Wikipedia about how Wikipedia operates. This is simply text chosen by the scammer to try to get her scam emails through anti-scam filters at the Internet providers.

A ludicrous scam email.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.


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Stupidest Spam of the Week Money Transfer

When scammers offer you money for effectively nothing, they usually take the trouble to give at least some flimsy excuse as to why they propose to give you the money.

This latest scammer cannot be bothered with that.

Mr Lalit Michael says they have decided to send my money through Western Union at $6,000 per day until the total of $3.7 million has been delivered.

Why does he want to send me money?

Why only $6,000 per day?

Why through Western Union?

He just needs me to phone him with my name, address, occupation, phone numbers and identity documents.


And why does he have a Gmail personal email account rather than a business address, when he claims to be a high powered lawyer working for the US government.

Why does he not even know my name yet wants to give me millions of dollars.

Is there anyone on planet Earth dumb enough to respond to this, hoping to get the actual money?

Who knows?

I certainly hope not.

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Time-Wasters Update

Yet another phishing email trying to get the radio station login and password. This one claims to be from Brooklands Radio Portal System and says our password has expired and needs to renewed by clicking on the link. But the email is from ki550354122321 which is not the radio station. Never click on such links.

For a while there were numerous HSBC phishing emails every day claiming that our account was going to be suspended unless we clicked a link to confirm it. Now they’ve changed to be the same emails but for TSB bank instead.  A pathetic scam.

Yippee I’ve won a £500 Ryanair voucher. On further reading it appears that I am one of three people of which one is guaranteed to have won the voucher. The email names the other two people which would be breaking data protection rules of course. But there is no voucher – it’s just a phishing message. If I click the link to accept then it asks for personal information – name, date of birth, address contact numbers etc. – all stuff the scammer can sell to other criminals. I wont be clicking any links.

Important – Your Account is Temporarily Under Review”. That’s an email from ‘Santander’ but is an obvious scam message as the sender is actually which is clearly not Santander bank. The message tells me to click the link to have my account released. No thanks as it doesn’t exist.

‘Mrs Mavis’ wants to donate millions of dollars to 5 randomly chosen people. It specifies a donation code – as if it meant something.  With only 5 donations to give you don’t really need an eight digit donation code. Stupid scammer. The surname of Mrs Mavis is wanczyk and the sending email address is so you can guess what was on that scammer’s mind.

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The Effects of Covid on Cyber Security

A recent government survey looks at the effects of the Covid pandemic on companies and charities as they deal with lockdowns, increased online activity and increased levels of cyber attacks and scams.

Some Key Points:

85% of businesses and 80% of charities say COVID-19 has made no change to the importance they place on cyber security although some organisations have increased their investment in IT and cyber security in response to the pandemic. Many organisations adopted new security solutions, including cloud security and multi-factor authentication, or more use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

Changes in Working Practice

Many organisations explained that COVID-19 and the ensuing move to home working initiated substantial changes in their digital infrastructure. This included issuing laptops or tablets to staff, setting up VPNs or using cloud systems and had to quickly approve new software.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made cyber security harder for many organisations, for reasons including:

  • Direct security and user monitoring have become harder in organisations where staff are working remotely.
  • Upgrading hardware, software and systems has also become more difficult. With staff working at home, there are more endpoints for organisations to keep track of.
  • The pandemic had stretched resources and led to competing priorities in IT and cyber security teams.

As the UK emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations might also consider what more

they can do to manage cyber security risks in a “blended” working environment (i.e. where staff

are regularly working both in offices and at home)

Se the survey for full details at

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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