Cybercriminals are increasingly hiding behind respected names and brands to ensnare their victims, says Bondgate IT.

The most recent attacks involve fake emails purporting to be from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the UK.

Speaking during Fraud Awareness Week (14-20 November) Garry Brown, founder and managing director of Darlington-headquartered Bondgate IT, said: “There’s no doubt people are less likely to question an email or text sent from what they believe is a respected business or organisation.

“Hijacking such trusted names and brands gives the scam an added layer of legitimacy, and it means no business or organisation is immune from impersonation.”

According to official government statistics phishing is the most identified cyber-attack. Among the 39 percent identifying breaches or attacks, 83 percent were victim to phishing attacks, 27 per cent were impersonated and 13 per cent suffered malware, including ransomware, attacks.

This week the FBI has launched an investigation after more than 100,000 fake emails warning of a possible cyber-attack, were sent from one of its servers.

Meanwhile, the DVLA has issued an alert about an email, which appears to be genuine, claiming that a vehicle tax payment failed to be processed.  It urges recipients to click on a link to make a payment which takes them to a false website where scammers can harvest personal and financial details.

The DVLA has also reported other email and text scams, which involve asking drivers to verify their details, requesting bank details and offering vehicle tax refunds.

Garry added: “No business or organisation is immune to being impersonated or falling victim to cyber criminals – not even the FBI!

“Security budgets are still relatively low in the UK, and there is still a perception that cyber crime happens to someone else, despite rising awareness of the problem. Businesses must protect themselves and ensure they can keep pace with the increasingly sophisticated methods employed by the scammers. That means carrying out a thorough review and adopting a layered approach to cyber security.”