The number of victims hit by cybercrime in Scotland has reached a record high, according to new figures.
In 2020-21, 403 crimes categorised under the Computer Misuse Act were reported by victims, in figures recorded by Police Scotland.
Of those, 331 were to gain unauthorised access to computers, while 71 were attacks on their operation. The figures represent a rise of around 700 per cent on the previous year where 57 crimes were recorded by the force.
The information was disclosed by the SNP Government in a written answer, following a question raised in Parliament by Scottish Conservative MSP Miles Briggs.
He insists SNP cuts to Police Scotland’s capital budget will hinder their efforts to combat this growing problem.
Miles Briggs MSP, Scottish Conservatives’ shadow cabinet secretary for social justice, said: “This shocking and unprecedented rise in cyberattacks will leave many people feeling deeply concerned.
“Our police desperately need the resources to tackle this issue, but instead the SNP Government have given them a real-terms cut to their capital budget.
“That means our police are being left without the equipment, training and resources they need to tackle these attacks.
“It is essential that the public can go online without feeling under threat from hackers – particularly just now with concerns about global cyber-security in the wake of Russia’s appalling invasion of Ukraine.
“We know that Scottish public-sector organisations have been subject to cyber-attacks too, so this is a growing problem.
“The Scottish Conservatives called for a £35.6m increase in police capital spending in the last budget – but the SNP ignored us and cut it in real terms. We would ensure that our police are always fully funded and equipped for the future with our Local Policing Act.”
No specific information is held regarding the characteristics of victims, including whether they are private households, businesses or charity organisations, according to Keith Brown, the Scottish Government’s justice secretary.
The cabinet secretary also pointed out in his answer that the figures needed to be viewed in context of a reporting change in 2020-21, whereby crimes likely perpetrated outside the UK were included for the first time.