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Fake news adds to cyber risks for business, U.K. report says

(Bloomberg) -- Fake news threatens U.K. businesses with reputational damage as well as falling sales and share prices, adding to the growing risk from cyber attacks facing companies from local Indian restaurants to multinationals.

That’s the warning from the National Cyber Security Centre and the National Crime Agency in a report Tuesday.

In one case believed to set a legal precedent, lawyers for a U.K. businessman issued an injunction against “persons unknown” after false and doctored stories were shared on social media, the NCSC said.

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Lights illuminate control buttons on rack server devices in the Sberbank PJSC data processing center (DPC) at the Skolkovo Innovation Center, in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017. Sberbank PJSC, Russia’s most valuable company, will boost its dividend payout to 50 percent of profit or higher, just not as quickly as some investors had hoped. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Among the fastest-growing areas of fraud is the tactic of impersonating a company’s chief executive officer or senior official to coerce an employee, customer or vendor into transferring funds or sensitive information, according to the report. More sophisticated technology and cheaper costs make the strategy more effective than traditional ransomware.

Meanwhile, newer techniques for mining cryptocurrencies are also on the rise, led by so-called cryptojacking, which exploits visitors to a website to mine the currencies without their consent, the center said.

Security of data stored in the cloud “will become a tempting target for a range of cyber criminals,” the NCSC said, as currently only 40 percent of data stored there is access-secured. Too much faith is placed in cloud providers by customers who don’t stipulate how data should be stored, the report found.

Separately, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation reported a shortage of workers in cyber security in the month to the end of April.