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Cyber crime figures provide more grist to the security reseller mill

Figures from the ONS have added to a picture of widespread cyber attacks hitting users across England and Wales

Official figures showing an increase in cyber crime will not surprise those in the channel fighting hard on a daily basis to protect customer data.

The numbers might help increase user awareness even further that this is a serious problem and more needs to be done if the cyber criminals are going to be halted.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that there had been 2.5m cyber crime offences in the 12 months ending June across England and Wales.

The initial reaction from the industry was to welcome the addition of cyber crime to the overall figures because it made it clear just how extensive the problem was.

David Kennerley, senior manager for threat research at cybersecurity firm Webroot, said the inclusion of cyber crime was a step forward and showed just how seriously it was now been treated.

"There’s a common misconception that cybercrime is somehow victimless – this is far from the case. Recent attacks such as Dridex, which was used to steal £20m from UK bank accounts show just how damaging they can be to all parties involved," he said.

"Protecting ourselves from cybercrime is a joint effort – the government must take action to reduce the reported 3.8m incidents of cybercrime, but consumers must protect themselves too. Simple measures such as using different passwords for different online accounts, keeping systems and applications up-to-date, disabling commonly exploited browser add-ons, using ad blocker software and taking extra care when opening emails will all help reduce the risk of an attacker gaining access to your personal details," he added.

Talking about what to do to improve protection is going to be one of the main discussion points for the channel to share with customers.

“The news that the crime rate is expected to rise by 40% due to cyber offences highlights the growing threat of cyber-attacks in today’s digital world. As we become more connected and reliant on technology, it is clear that companies need to be doing more as attackers continue to evolve," said Richard Brown, Director EMEA Channels & Alliances at Arbor Networks.  

“What’s becoming essential, especially for larger organisations and high-value targets, is having the ability to detect and contain threats quickly – even when they make it past the perimeter defences.  This isn’t all about technology – although having the right tools helps – people and process are key in this," he added.

Louise Pordage, senior manager in KPMG’s Cyber Security practice, said that even with the latest figures were probably understating the real problem: “While the figures released today may appear high, I am certain that cyber crime remains one of the most under reported areas in our crime statistics."

“Our world is becoming digital and so is organised crime. The incorporation of these figures into the Crime Survey of England and Wales is a vital first step towards a more robust reporting regime for cyber crime, and an important recognition that such crimes can have every bit as much of an impact on our lives as more conventional crime," she added.

The inclusion of fraud figures, which revealed that there had been 5.1m in a 12 month period, was also seen as a positive.

“Fraud is an insidious crime – thousands of people fall victim to fraud every day in the UK, and fraudsters use the money they steal to fund further crime. Businesses have been reporting fraud cases to law enforcement through Cifas and sharing fraud data for many years. Publishing this data in crime statistics today is a great step forward," said Cifas Chief Executive, Simon Dukes.  

“But there is much more to do – industry and government must keep working together to report more fraud and support victims to come forward so that we can understand the true scale of this problem and work together to tackle it," he added.

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