Philip Virgo, secretary general of Eurim, which tomorrow is launching a briefing paper on the problem, told CW360.com that e-crime is scarcely punished. He added: "Fear of e-crime is a showstopper, It costs money and jobs."
The Eurim document spells out the scale of the problem: "If a supermarket is burned down the police investigate and the judge will be severe. If an e-business is similarly destroyed, the police rarely afford it the same attention and experience."
"If business collects evidence the Crown Prosecution Service will show considerable caution in pursuing the case," the Eurim paper continues. "If it does the judge may well give only a trivial sentence because nothing tangible was actually stolen."
Virgo highlighted the confusion about e-crime: "When something goes wrong it is hard to determine if the problem was a software bug, human error, misuse or criminal activity," he said.
The Eurim initiative is aimed at building partnerships between heads of security in the private sector, law enforcement professionals and suppliers to raise the level of interest in IT security and the skills available.
Virgo hopes it will also help clarify the sort of legislative changes needed to protect business against e-crime.
"Any rush to create new primary legislation is likely to be counter-productive," the Eurim document states. "Greater cooperation is needed between all stakeholders to develop a common strategic approach to e-crime, to create a coherent legal environment and to make better use of scarce resources."
Eurim recommendations include:
1. The Home Office to co-ordinate constructive dialogue between all stakeholders.
2. The Law Commission to review existing UK legislation to establish that changes are needed as a matter of priority to ensure that e-crimes can be prosecuted effectively.
3. The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit to build on its work with industry.
4. The Home Office to encourage direct industry involvement in the development of global initiatives to fight e-crime.