Hi-tech crime rates rise

More than half (57 per cent) of people questioned felt hi-tech crime would not be dealt with properly by the police, according to a survey by the Corporate IT Forum (Cif), which questioned 3,500 members.

One reason for this was because there is no adequately-resourced body in existence to which they can report such crimes. The new Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU) has not done enough within the government yet for corporations to believe it can combat hi-tech crime.

This lack of deterrent leaves an opening for cyber criminals to commit unpunished organised e-crimes. The survey showed that security chiefs are most afraid of the threat of large-scale attacks on their organisations.

David Roberts, chief executive of The Corporate IT Forum, said: "Business confidence in the Government's ability to help [IT chiefs] fight cyber crime is at rock-bottom. Large businesses welcome the formation of the New Police Central e-crime Unit as a good first step but they think it's only part of the solution."

This all leads to safety in the workplace. Because of the lack of confidence in solving the problems, businesses have stopped reporting crime, with only four per cent of organisations "always" reporting it. More businesses reported "sometimes" and "rarely" with 60 per cent and 36 per cent, respectively.

Still, 69 per cent of businesses reported seeing increases in the amount of hi-tech crime that has been committed against them. As a result, 68 per cent of businesses spend up to 40 per cent of their total security budget just to combat electronic forms of crime.

Spending was either "more" or "dramatically more" for 42 per cent and "roughly the same" for 58 per cent of businesses. None reported spending less.

Businesses believe that most of the viruses, website defacements and denial of service attacks have been done by professional criminals instead of the once ever-so-common child in their parent's basement.

"Cybercrime shouldn't be treated as a special case. E-crime must be treated just like any form of activity designed to steal or maliciously damage someone else's property as a crime with a proper legal framework of penalties and legislation attached," Roberts said.