The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (iC3) logged its six millionth complaint on Saturday.
Between 2019 and 2020, the number of complaints filed with the Center rose by nearly 70%. FBI Special Agent Andrew Sekela believes the increase is linked to the COVID-19 global health pandemic.
He said: “The cyber-actors have absolutely taken every advantage of that opportunity to increase the number of people that they’re targeting, which is why I think we’re seeing an increase again across the board of all different types of fraud schemes and internet crimes.”
iC3 was set up 20 years ago, and it took nearly seven years for it to log its first million complaints. However, the Center logged one million complaints in the past 14 months alone.
In a press release, iC3 chief Donna Gregory said, “On one hand, the number holds some positive news. People know how to find us and how to report an incident. But on the other hand, these numbers indicate more people are being affected by online crimes and scams.”
Tyler Shields, CMO at JupiterOne, a Morrisville, North Carolina–based provider of cyber asset management and governance solutions, believes the increase in complaints is linked to a rise in cyber-criminal activity.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in fraud and online scams in the last 12–24 months. The number of complaints is rising directly in correlation to the increase in attacks,” Shields told Infosecurity Magazine.
They added: “Attackers follow the money, and these types of attacks have shown a great return on investment for attackers. Just look at the results from DarkSide’s attack campaigns – $90m in 9 months from only 47 victims.”
John Morgan, CEO at California cloud cybersecurity detection and response provider Confluera, said verification was harder for employees working from home.
“They can no longer simply turn around to ask others whether an email is legitimate or whether others have also received such notifications,” Morgan told Infosecurity Magazine.
He said organizations should educate their employees on contemporary tactics used in cyber-attacks, such as the creation of fake colleagues and companies on LinkedIn.