Cyber crime attacks on Scottish public bodies and their bosses have been soaring since staff began working from home, it has emerged.
The head of Audit Scotland said senior figures in the spending watchdog had been targeted in recent weeks, as she warned of a heightened “risk”.
Caroline Gardner, the auditor general for Scotland, raised fears that the switch to remote working for tens of thousands of workers during the coronavirus lockdown had left many organisations, such as councils and NHS boards, under threat.
Giving evidence to MSPs on the Scottish Commission for Public Audit on Monday, she said it was a trend that is being monitored closely.
“We certainly are seeing, both ourselves as an organisation and as the auditors of 200-plus organisations around Scotland, increased risks around cyber security with the overnight move to remote working that we’ve all had to undertake since the middle of March,” she said.
“Within Audit Scotland we have seen an increase in the number of phishing emails that we receive.
“We’ve seen some increase in sophistication, with them being targeted at particularly senior people within the organisation.
“And we’ve seen general pressures on our IT systems and the security of our data.”
Ms Gardner added: “So far we’ve been able to manage all of that but it has put a lot of pressure on our digital services team, and our auditors are seeing the same sort of pattern in the bodies that they audit.
“At this stage I can’t give any indication of the impact that this has had, other than the pressure it is putting on the people responsible for digital security.
“But it is an audit risk that we’re looking at closely, as well as managing within our own organisation.”