NIDFPW: Data theft - the dominant fraud

Data theft

Data theft was more widespread than any other kind of fraud affecting global businesses in the last 12 months, figures from consulting company Kroll have shown.

This meant information stealing was more of a problem than physical theft for the first time, as almost 27.3 per cent of companies reported corporate data or assets had been taken without permission in the past year.

The figure showed a rise of 18 per cent from 2009, whilst cases of physical asset or stock theft fell from 28 per cent to 27.2 per cent, according to the study carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The amount lost by businesses to fraud rose from $1.4 million (884,000) to $1.7 million per billion dollars of sales in the past 12 months, representing an increase of over 20 per cent when compared to last year, according to the survey of 800 senior executives from across the globe.

"Theft of confidential information is on the rise because data is increasingly portable and perpetrators often departing or disgruntled employees can remove it with ease [if] sufficient controls [are absent]," said Robert Brenner, vice president of Kroll's Americas region.

"At the same time, there is a growing awareness among thieves of the increasing intrinsic value of an organisation's intellectual property."

Even though the risk of data theft has evidently risen and almost nine in ten respondents said they had been the victim of at least one kind of fraud during the past year, many firms were not planning to increase their security efforts.

Less than half of the businesses polled said they were planning to spend more on IT security, down from 51 per cent in 2009.

"Companies need to regularly evaluate how they are controlling access to information within their organisation to ensure they are keeping pace with technological advancement and the imperative for collaboration in the workplace," Brenner added.

The survey results have been released in the midst of the UK's National Identity Fraud Prevention Week (NIDFPW).

Notable sports presenter John Inverdale, who has experienced the travails of recovering from identity fraud, has been selected as NIDFPW's spokesperson for this year.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.