UK businesses report 20% increase in e-crime incidents

The number of e-crime incidents reported by UK business has risen by 20% over the past year, according to the head to the...

The number of e-crime incidents reported by UK business has risen by 20% over the past year, according to the head to the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit.

Despite the figures, there are signs of progress in the fight against cybercrime, according to John Lyons, NHTCU crime reduction co-ordinator, who was due to speak at the City IT event.

He told Computer Weekly the figures showed companies are more willing to report hacking and other related electronic crimes.

"The 20% increase over the year is partly because of our 'confidentiality charter', which has gone down extremely well with business," he said.

"We consulted with businesses beforehand and therefore they feel ownership of the process. Companies are talking to each other about what we can do, and the work the NHTCU has done to communicate crime reduction education is paying off.

"We have also seen a significant shift in international co-operation between law enforcement agencies. We send each other data now and let the paperwork follow later."

The NHTCU is working closely with banking associations including the Association for Payment Clearing Services and the British Banking Association as well as City of London special interest groups to help disseminate crime reduction advice to their members, Lyons said.

But he warned companies to beware of a trend for hackers and spamming groups to work together to spread junk e-mails and launch attacks.

"Hacking groups are getting in with purveyors of spam e-mail and selling them hidden Trojans to further propagate spam," he said.

Lyons also warned that hackers were launching attacks more quickly after a vulnerability in an operating system becomes public. This required companies to patch vulnerable systems more rapidly.

Lyons also urged companies to ensure that laptops with sensitive commercial data are encrypted.

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