UK Cybercrime Falls but Stats Are Still Shaky

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Cybercrime in the UK appears to have dropped in recent months, with 1.9 million incidents of online fraud and 1.6 million incidents of 'computer misuse' recorded by the Office of National Statistics for the year ending June 2017.

The statistics bureau claimed that over half (57%) of the reported fraud during the period was cyber-related.

Overall, “bank and credit account fraud” was the most common type;, accounting for 2.5 million incidents or 75% of total fraud.

This was followed by “consumer and retail fraud” including online shopping or IT helpdesk scams, accounting for 0.7 million incidents or 22% of the total.

When it comes to computer misuse, 1.1 million incidents (67%) were malware related and a third (0.5 million) were related to unauthorized access to personal information.

The stats can be seen in context of the last major update from the ONS for the year ending September 2016, when it revealed 1.97 million cybercrime incidents and just over 1.9 million online fraud incidents.

However, there were the usual caveats. Although fraud and computer misuse estimates have been incorporated within headline ONS estimates since the year ending September 2016, they are based on so-called 'Experimental Statistics'.

This means the stats are still in a testing phase and are not yet fully developed, meaning there could be inaccuracies.

The ONS also had this to say:

“There are concerns about the quality of recording – crimes may not be recorded consistently across police forces and so the true level of recorded crime may be understated.”

That said, the fall in cybercrime was welcomed by industry experts.

“To continue to drive down cases of cybercrime and its wider effects, businesses can’t rely on government initiatives alone,” argued SailPoint CEO Mark McClain.

“Companies must take proactive steps to mitigate threats by developing a user-focused defense strategy focused on managing user identities and protecting personally identifiable information. This approach will ensure there is complete visibility across entire systems, making it easier to locate potential vulnerabilities and protect from the debilitating effects of data breaches and leaks.”

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