British hackers are far behind their US counterparts, with a meagre 0.016 percent of cyber attacks stemming from the UK, according to security firm FireEye.
Senior architect at FireEye Jason Steer cited statistics in the firm's latest World War C threat report as proof that the US is the biggest source of cybercrime during an interview with V3.
"Whilst the UK is sixth in the FireEye national callback table, statistically this represents only 0.016 percent – while we continue to see the US dominate the callback league with almost 50 percent of originating callbacks, more than 500 percent more than the next country in the league table, Hong Kong. The US, with open markets and bulletproof hosting providers, creates an ecosystem ripe for use by attackers today," he said.
Steer said knowing exactly why the UK is responsible for so few cyber attacks is difficult, though it is likely in part due to the country's robust anti-hacker laws and police initiatives.
"Many reasons explain this, including a lack of bulletproof hosting providers, strong law enforcement [such as the] Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), and other countries providing a better service for a cheaper price. Simply, the UK isn't the best place to launch attacks and have callbacks come back to – it's more risky than doing it in other countries," he said.
Combating cybercrime has been a central goal of the UK government's Cyber Security Strategy since it launched in 2011. The strategy has seen the government launch several cybercrime-busting initiatives designed to increase collaboration to combat cyber threats between the public and private sector. These have included the creation of a new British Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), the opening of two cyber security advice centres for businesses and the launch of the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP).
The strategy has had some success since launching, with the Metropolitan Police reporting last month that UK law enforcement's anti-hacker efforts have stopped criminals stealing over £1bn from businesses and citizens in the last two-and-a-half years.
Steer said despite the positive news FireEye has detected a number of local attacks mixing real-world and cyber techniques. "We occasionally hear that some attacks against UK organisations originate within the UK. There is a broad assumption that all attacks come from overseas, but the intel we hear suggests that often there is a physical connection that initiates a cyber attack – this is the catalyst for it being local."
The mixing of cyber and real-world techniques by criminals is a growing problem facing UK police. Prior to the FireEye report the Metropolitan Police have charged four individuals with conspiring to hack a Santander bank branch in London.
The criminals reportedly planned to hack the Surrey Quays Santander branch by attaching a keyboard video mouse (KVM) switch to a terminal. The tactic would let the criminals take control of the terminal from a remote location at a later date.
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