Fraud and cybercrime committed every four seconds in the UK - cybercrime now deemed more common than traditional crime

Cybercrime is a fast-growing area of crime with increasing numbers of criminals exploiting speed, convenience and anonymity to commit a diverse range of criminal activities that know no borders.

These crimes can be divided into three broad areas:

  • attacks against computer hardware and software, for example malware

  • financial crimes and corruption, such as online fraud

  • abuse, in the form of grooming or 'sexploitation', especially crimes against children

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released information suggesting cybercrime incidents are growing more prevalent in British society than traditional criminal incidents, with more than seven million incidents estimated to have occurred within the last year, noting that this may be due to more criminal enterprises transitioning to the digital world.

In the first major study into the extent of fraud and cybercrime, the Office for National Statistics claim there were an estimated 2.5 million incidents of cybercrime falling under the Computer Misuse Act.

The survey was extended beyond credit card and banking fraud to cover a fuller spectrum of fraud and computer misuse crimes, including those committed in person, by mail, over the phone and online. The survey found more than half of fraud and cybercrime victims suffered financial loss. The most common cybercrimes saw the victim's device infected by a virus and included emails or social media accounts being hacked.

New trends in cybercrime are constantly emerging, with costs to the global economy running to billions. Historically cybercrime was committed mainly by individuals or small groups. Today, we are seeing criminal organisations working with criminally minded technology professionals often to fund other illegal activities. Highly complex, these networks bring together individuals from across the globe in real time to commit crimes on an unprecedented scale.

Criminal organisations are turning increasingly to the Internet to facilitate their activities and maximise profit in the shortest time. The crimes are not necessarily new (theft, fraud, illegal gambling, sale of fake medicines) but they are evolving with the opportunities presented online, becoming more widespread and damaging.

How effective are your cyber defences?

Our technology risk assurance team can support you with a range of cyber assurance services including:

  • GCHQ 10 Steps to cyber security - gap analysis

  • information security (27001) implementation support

  • network vulnerability testing

  • business resilience advisory support 

For further details contact Sheila Pancholi and Steven Snaith.