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Cyber crime costing UK firms £21bn a year

Simon Quicke

The cost of cybercrime to UK businesses is £21bn with British firms being the target of IP theft, industrial espionage and theft of customer data.

According to the first attempt by the government to cost-up the impact of crime on UK plc is £27bn per year but the report by Detica and and Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance in the Cabinet Office warned that figure was an estimate and the real number might be a great deal higher.

Alongside government and individuals the brunt of crime was targeted at businesses through various methods of attacks all designed to reap the criminal money by stealing data, intellectual property or through straightforward financial theft.

Of those sectors suffering most from IP theft the software and computer services sector was among the worst to be hit losing £1.6bn with the hardware market also being a victim to the tune of £200m a year.

The report noted that businesses had already reacted to the threats by improving their security and improving employee training but warned that those working in IP rich areas were going to have to step up their investment to protect their assets.

"Although the government continues to focus on protecting the critical national infrastructure, companies in IP-rich industries are at a particular risk from cyber crime," the Cabinet Office report stated.

One of the recommendations of the report is that the government establishes an online support service to provide greater amounts of information to businesses across the UK, which would also include a mechanism for companies to report cyber crime anaonymously.


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