Computer Crime Research Center


Cyber-crime costs business billions

Date: February 25, 2004
Source: The Guardian
By: Rosie Cowan

Cyber-crime cost the UK billions of pounds last year, according to Britain's top internet policeman.
Of 201 companies questioned by the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU), 83%, or 167 firms, said they had suffered some sort of computer crime in the past year, costing them £195m, with 62% losing a total of £121m to internet fraud.

Detective chief superintendent Len Hynds, head of the NHTCU, said: "This research shows that some companies are suffering multi-million pound losses as a result of hi-tech crime. While it is too early to put an accurate figure on the total financial impact for UK business, all the indicators suggest we are talking about billions rather than millions."

Of 44 financial services businesses polled, three alone racked up £60m fraud losses between them. Virus attacks were experienced by 77%, costing them £27.8m, and 17% lost £23m to criminal use of the internet, mostly by employees, who sabotaged data and networks. Some 11% had data stolen and 15% had had spoofs made of their corporate websites.

Although only 24% of firms surveyed reported cyber-crime to the police - many fear adverse publicity - Dt Ch Supt Hynds claimed attitudes were changing but stressed sharing information was the only way to help internet detectives.

Dt Ch Supt Hynds, speaking at a hi-tech crime conference in London yesterday, also called for government and business to help police clean up the internet. "For the internet to take the final step to adulthood it must first deal with those fringe elements that choose to promote abhorrent activities like cannibalism and necrophilia," he said.

"There is patently no place for such material on our televisions, or in our high street stores, so why do we tolerate it online?"

His call came just weeks after Graham Coutts was jailed for life for the murder of Brighton teacher Jane Longhurst, whom he strangled after spending hours viewing necrophilia and violent sex websites.

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