Cost of UK cybercrime hits £27 billion claims government

In a report from the Office of Cyber Security & Information Assurance in the Cabinet Office, in conjunction with Detica, an information intelligence company, experts claim that the cost of cybercrime is both significant and growing.

The report claims that the ease of access to – and relative anonymity provided by – information technology lowers the risk of being caught, whilst at the same time making crimes straightforward to conduct.

Although the study shows that cybercrime has a considerable impact on citizens and the government, the main loser – at a total estimated cost of £21 billion – is UK business, which suffers from high levels of intellectual property theft and espionage.

Delving into the report reveals that the impact of cybercrime does not fall equally across industry sectors. The most seriously affected businesses are from sectors not traditionally viewed as targets of cyberattacks.

"And, although the government continues to focus on protecting the critical national infrastructure, providers of software and computer services, financial services, pharmaceutical and biotech and electronic and electrical equipment are at a particular risk from cybercrime", says the report.

"Without urgent measures to prevent the haemorrhaging of valuable intellectual property, the cost of cybercrime is likely to rise even further in the future as UK businesses increase their reliance on ICT", the report adds.

The research goes on to say that the results of the economic study suggest that businesses need to look again at their defences.

They need to do this, says the report, in order to determine whether their information is indeed well protected.

Against this backdrop, the government is recommending that selected companies from within the most affected business sectors are approached in confidence to help the government build a more accurate assessment of IP theft and espionage.

"This would not only increase the awareness of the issues by individual companies, helping them to conduct detailed investigations into their losses from different types of cybercrime, but also contribute to a more accurate and comprehensive picture of cybercrime across the UK", says the report.

"At the same time, we believe UK businesses should be provided with a Government-sponsored, authoritative, online and interactive service to promote more widespread awareness and the adoption of best practice in protection from cybercrime", the report adds.

"Such a service could also provide a central reporting mechanism to allow businesses to report cybercrime, anonymously if necessary", it concludes. 

What’s hot on Infosecurity Magazine?