Cybercrime hitting the UK hard

Latest figures suggest that UK firms' bill for high-tech crime runs into billions of pounds
Written by Dan Ilett, Contributor

Electronic crime cost UK companies an estimated £2.45bn last year, the National Hi-tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) announced on Tuesday.

Out of 200 companies surveyed, 178 experienced some form of high-tech crime last year. Of those 178 firms, 90 percent claimed to have had their systems intruded and 89 percent said their data had been stolen.

"Billions of pounds are being lost to the UK economy through high-tech crime," said Detective Superintendent Mick Deats, deputy head of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit. "Over the past year we have seen a sustained increase in the professionalism of cyber criminals. Companies are taking the brunt of criminals' attempts to steal money and data, but consumers are also being hit."

Speaking to ZDNet UK last week, Deats warned that organised gangs are taking a growing interest in cybercrime.

Virus attacks hit 97 percent of survey respondents, which cost them a total of more than £70m. Nine percent had suffered financial fraud, at a cost of £68m.

The NHTCU highlighted that external hackers were not the only threat to companies — crimes committed by employees also ranked highly, with the sabotage of data listed as the number one problem.

But Deats remained optimistic that the public was learning about online risks.

"On a positive note, we should acknowledge the increased effort put in by companies to protect themselves and their customers from this threat."

The NHTCU announced the survey results on Tuesday morning at the e-Crime Congress in London.

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