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London cybercrime conference searches for answers

Simon Quicke

The great and the good of the security industry will be keeping their eyes on the London conference on Cyberspace over the next couple of days as the government outlines how industry players can work with each other and law enforcement agencies to stem the threat of web-based attacks.

The conference runs over the next two days and comes just a day after the head of GCHQ warned that the government was being targeted more frequently by attacks designed to undermine the country with the potential to harm future prosperity.

Foreign secretary William Hague is leading the conference, which will work towards producing the 'London Agenda', a plan based on the ideas and proposals that will come out of the two-day event.

"How to ensure we can all reap the benefits of a safe and secure cyberspace for generations to come is one of the greatest challenges we face," Hague added. "This needs to be a collective endeavor, involving all those who have a stake in cyberspace."

Recent industry reports have highlighted the costs of cybercrime to the global economy as well as the links to terrorism.

In September, the Norton Cybercrime Report 2011 estimated the global cost to be $114bn a year with 431m adults victims of attacks, making this form of crime more lucrative than the cocaine and heroin trade.

In the UK it costs £474m a year with even more money lost in the time and effort made by the victims to resolve the mess made by the criminals. Just over half, 51% of UK residents have been victims of this sort of crime.

Earlier this summer research released from Hewlett-Packard carried out by the Ponemon Institute revealed that the costs of cybercrime had gone up substantially, by 56%, since its first study last year and they spiraled if victims left the problem unresolved.

The average cost of cyber-crime incurred by organisations now stands at $5.9m a year and despite the heightened awareness of the problems there is still a lot of room for improvement in the defences firms deploy against the attacks.


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