Digital crime accounts for one in four business frauds

Online crime now the third most common fraud suffered by British businesses...

Online crime now the third most common fraud suffered by British businesses...

A quarter of frauds suffered by UK organisations during the past year were digital crimes, according to a survey.

E-crime was the third most common type of economic crime reported by businesses and public sector bodies in response to the PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Economic Crime Survey. The survey defined e-crime as a crime where a computer and the internet play a central role.

e-crime and UK business

Online crime is one of the most common frauds perpetrated against UK businesses, according to a PwC surveyPhoto: Shutterstock

"The fact that 26 per cent of those who experienced an economic crime in the last 12 months reported a cybercrime is particularly alarming," Tony Parton, forensics partner for PwC, said in a statement.

Parton said as well as the direct financial costs, other commercial consequences of digital crime include damage to reputation and brand, poor employee morale and service disruption.

The sector that reported the most incidents of e-crime was the financial industry, accounting for half of the reports of online crime received by the survey.

The bulk of UK respondents - 76 per cent - had not received online security training, according to the research.

Reputational damage, rather than financial loss, was ranked as the gravest consequence of online crime by the majority (83 per cent) of respondents.

The survey found that employees believe most frauds are carried out by external attackers. Where internal staff do defraud their employer, the report said the most likely culprits are male middle managers aged between 31 and 40.

The survey polled 3,877 people globally, with 178 respondents from the UK, about economic crime suffered by their organisation during the past year.

Last week, the government announced its cybersecurity strategy, setting out plans for GCHQ to set up an online security hub that will be act as a brokerage for the public and private sectors to exchange information about threats and technologies.