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Government not doing enough to fight e-crime, say businesses

Warwick Ashford

Proposals to create a new police computer crime unit may not be enough to restore businesses' confidence in the government's approach to fighting high-tech crime, say IT security professionals.

A survey of 54 of the Corporate IT Forum's 150 member organisations in August found that confidence in the government's willingness or ability to solve crimes by hackers and virus writers is very low.

The Corporate IT Forum said it was concerned that the £7m funding for the new unit, dubbed the Police Central E-Crime Unit will not be enough to protect businesses from malicious computer attacks. Plans for the e-crime unit were announced by the Home Office last month.

David Roberts, chief executive of The Corporate IT Forum, said the amount of funding is disproportionate to the size of the problem.

"IT chiefs in UK PLCs donot think the government appreciates the scale of the cybercrime threat, the seriousness of the threat, or how much it is costing," he said.

The survey found that 69% of organisations polled reported increases in deliberate high-tech crime, but only 4% reported every incident.

Fifty seven per cent said the police would not investigate high-tech crime if they did report it.

According to Roberts, large businesses welcome the formation of the Police Central E-Crime Unit as a good first step, but they think it is only part of the solution.

Forty eight per cent of those polled said consistent and appropriate penalties for cyber criminals and cross-border e-crime legislation was the best solution to the problem.

"The government must pay urgent attention to putting the penalties and legal frameworks in place to deter these criminals, wherever they are in the world," said Roberts.

The survey revealed that 68% of companies are forced to spend up to 40% of their security budgets protecting themselves against cybercrime.

Most organisations (60%) said they reported high-tech crime only occasionally, and35% said such crimes were rarely reported.


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