Americans experienced a massive increase in cyber attacks in 2021, costing more than $6.9 billion, according to the FBI’s annual Internet Crime Report.
The report, released this week, found a jump of potential losses of more than $2 billion compared to 2020.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) says it received 847,376 internet crime complaints in 2021, a 7% increase from 2020 but an astonishing 81% surge from 2019.
Non-payment/non-delivery was the top cybercrime reported to the IC3, followed by personal data breaches and phishing scams.
Business email compromise schemes had the largest dollar losses of more than $2.4 billion for the fourth consecutive year. This sophisticated scam targets both businesses and individuals performing wire transfers of funds.
Ransomware also continued to cause problems last year.
In June 2021, the IC3 began tracking reported ransomware incidents in which the victim organization was part of a critical infrastructure sector. Healthcare and Public Health was the most targeted sector with 148 complaints.
The FBI does not encourage paying a ransom to criminal actors because paying may embolden criminals to target other organizations. Also, paying the ransom does not guarantee the recovery of lock files.
One bright spot, the FBI’s Recovery Asset Team assisted in freezing over $328 million in funds last year for victims who made transfers to criminals under fraudulent pretenses.
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