First published: 24th January 2018
Figures from the Hong Kong Police and HKCERT (Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre) show that technology crime continued to rise in 2017, despite a general trend of other types of crime decreasing.
Speaking at a press conference on 23 January 2018, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Lo Wai-chung reported that the overall law and order situation in Hong Kong continued to improve in 2017, with the lowest overall crime rate since 1975. However, online business fraud was up by 394 cases to 1996 cases, with losses of HK$34.5 million. Most of the cases involved customer-to-customer online trading. The number of "romance scams", that usually involve online communication and overseas fraudsters, more than doubled to 235 cases, with a loss of HK$108 million.
However, cyber-blackmail was substantially reduced. "Naked chat" blackmail fell by 56.2% to 305 cases with a total loss of HK$900,000. Ransomware was down 32% to 43 cases, even though the WannaCry ransomware substantially affected other jurisdictions in May 2017. The Police have noted that some perpetrators took advantage of the anonymous nature of Bitcoin in blackmail and money laundering cases, so the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau (CSTCB) has set up a dedicated unit to more effectively handle cases involving Bitcoin. Mr Lo did not indicate whether the unit would also handle cases involving other cryptocurrencies.
The Police’s Anti-Deception Coordination Centre (ADCC), previously reported in this newsletter, has received over 12,000 calls since its establishment in July 2017.
HKCERT statistics also show a rise in security incident reports, they handled a total of 6506 incidents in 2017, compared to 6058 in 2016. Statistics from the Government InfoSec website were not available for 2017 at the time or writing.