Computer Crime Research Center


Cyber-crime hits UK

Date: February 28, 2004
Source: ITWweb

Johannesburg - Hi-tech crime has risen substantially in the UK, with around 83% of UK companies having been victims of computer crime. This emerged at the second UK e-Crime congress, aimed at counteracting the threat of hi-tech crime in the UK, which was staged in London this week.

The congress aimed to foster greater co-operation between companies, the police and government in the prevention and solution of crime. Various speakers at the congress said it was not possible for any of the parties to solve these crimes alone.

Speaking on the trend of modern criminals in the UK, Bill Hughes, National Crime Squad head and keynote speaker at the congress, said the number of hi-tech crimes had not increased along with the growing number of computer users.

Rather, there was still a tendency towards more traditional crimes – such as extortion, fraud and theft – being committed using modern tools, said Hughes. “Not a lot has changed in the way that criminals operate, they just have new ways to carry out crimes.”

A survey conducted by the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit unveiled at the congress found that 83% of UK companies have been victims of computer crime, the vast majority of which were from virus attacks. It is thought that as much as 30% of all spam on the Internet is sent by home computers infected by some kind of virus. Other prevalent crimes included data theft and denial-of-service attacks.

Respondents to the survey placed costs involved with dealing with these attacks at £195 million for the past year. Fraud was particularly costly, with UK companies spending £121 million a year, while costs for cleaning up viruses accounted for a further £27.8 million.
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