Russian Cybercrime Gangs Target Scottish Homes and Businesses Reuters

The police and computer security firms Sophos and Kaspersky Labs confirmed that Russian gangs are targeting Scottish home and businesses in a series of cyber attacks.

According to a BBC investigation, in a programme called Gangsters.com, Russian gangs are focusing their cyber attacks efforts on Scotland's business community, particularly small to medium enterprises (SME), and households.

"We have seen a large number of businesses being targeted across Scotland in a multitude of sectors," said Detective Supt Stevie Wilson, head of Police Scotland's cybercrime unit to the BBC.

"Certainly in the financial sector and agriculture, but predominantly in the small and medium enterprises with up to 200 employees.

"A lot of businesses may not recover from a cyber attack simply because personal customer data has been stolen, and it can cause real problems for the viability of that business in the long-term."

However, it is not clear why Scottish businesses and individuals have become the key target for Russian gangs.

In June, a benchmark study revealed that cybercrime costs businesses nearly half a trillion dollars a year.

According to research by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), businesses across the globe lost around $445bn (£266bn, €327bn), while the UK is one of the worst hit nations.

Around 93% of large UK corporations and 87% of small British businesses reported a cyber-breach in 2013.

"The UK is one of the hot spots in terms of attacks. Nobody is protected, nobody is safe," said Kapersky Lab's Sergey Novikov to the BBC.

Meanwhile, Scottish Business Resilience Centre warned that anyone with an online presence is at risk.

"We've seen small shops, one-man operators, we've seen IT companies being targeted," said Gary Fairley, cyber and digital lead at the Scottish Business Resilience Centre.

"We've seen some public sector bodies, we've seen local authorities. We've seen some agencies and other public bodies targeted as well, so the scale is not just traditional business.

"It's anybody or any organisation that has an online presence."