Phishing and ransomware among the most reported cybercrimes in 2020/21

As the sophistication and severity of cyber-attacks/breaches continues to intensify, cyber security has now rightfully become a major issue at the forefront of the public eye.

Interested in cyber security, Reboot Online Marketing analysed the latest data from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to establish which type of major cyber security incidents were reported to them the most from April 2020 to March 2021 (2020/21).

The six major ‘type’ of cyber security incidents included: phishing, unauthorised access, ransomware, malware, hardware/software misconfiguration and brute force.

The Results from the Research:

Major Cyber Security Incidents 2020/21
Rank Major Cyber Security Incident Type Number of Cases Reported in 2019/20 Number of Cases Reported in 2020/21 Year-on-Year Increase or Decrease (%)
1. Phishing 1155 907 21%
2. Unauthorised Access 597 562 6%
3. Ransomware 160 504 215%
4. Malware 101 127 26%
5. Hardware/Software Misconfiguration 92 87 5%
6. Brute Force 35 62 77%


Analysis of the Results from the Research:

Reboot Online Marketing found that the ICO received 907 reports of phishing between April 2020 to March 2021 – the equivalent of two phishing incidents a day! Compared to April 2019 to March 2020, it represents 21% drop in year-on-year phishing incidents.

In second place there were 562 cases of unauthorised access brought to light to the ICO from April 2020 to March 2021. Despite this, it was a 6% fall from April 2019 – March 2020, where there were 597 incidences of unauthorised access.

Ransomware was the cyber security incident which experienced the biggest year-on-year increase at 215%. In 2020/21 there were a total of 504 cases reported to the ICO in contrast to the 160 the year before (2019/20).

Malware (127) and hardware/software misconfiguration (87) are among the other major cyber security incident types that were made aware to the ICO over 80 individual times each during 2020/21, respectively ranking fourth and fifth.

At the other end in sixth place is brute force, as the ICO were alerted of 62 occurrences of the cryptography centric attack in 2020/21. Alarmingly, it symbolises a 77% increase in brute force attacks when shadowed against 2019/20, when 35 incidents were recorded by the ICO.

Overall, when combining the figures together for the six categories, there were a grand total of 2,249 major cyber security incidents reported to the ICO in 2020/21.

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