Reported cases of webcam blackmail double, are linked to four suicides

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The number of reported webcam blackmail cases has more than doubled in the past year, and at least four suicides in the UK have been connected to this form of sextortion, says the National Crime Agency.

The NCA's Anti-Kidnap and Extortion unit has seen 864 cases of financially motivated webcam blackmail so far this year, up from 385 for the whole of 2015. The NCA believes the true number is a lot higher, though, due to significant under-reporting. Most victims (95 percent) were men or boys; men between 21 and 30 represent the largest group, but boys between 11 and 20 were also a "substantial portion."

The four sextortion-linked suicides have all been men and boys—and again, that figure could be under-reported.

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Report claims more than half of UK firms have been hit by ransomware

(credit: Blue Coat)

Large UK companies are amongst the hardest hit by ransomware in western countries according to a new report that found that more than half had been affected by it—and that nine percent had been left "entirely unable to operate."

Ransomware is clearly a growth industry in Britain; 58 percent of IT directors in this country have paid ransoms in the past, and the UK experiences more attacks than the Canada, Germany, and the US, where bosses are 21 times less likely to give in to hackers' demands.

Ransomware is malicious software which locks users out of key files or their entire system using tough encryption until the owner pays up. It's a relatively simple scam, and according to Malwarebytes, who commissioned the report, gaining rapidly in popularity. The vast majority of attacks are coming through an endpoint, with 46 percent originating from an e-mail.

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