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One in three UK firms hit by cyber-crime

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One in two senior IT managers believe the future survival of their organisations "could be put at risk by a major network security breach".

And a third of large organisations have fallen victim to cybercrime in some form, a survey reveals.

The study, compiled from anonymous responses from 172 large organisation in the UK, was conducted by the Communications Management Association. It follows a warning last week by Foreign Secretary Robin Cook that hackers pose a greater threat to Britain than a military attack.

David Harrington, of the Communications Management Association (CMA), whose 2,000 individual members work in Britain's largest public and private sector firms, said that Cook was right on the button" with his warning.

"If there is a glitch affecting the nation's computers or communication infrastructure it might have a major effect on consumers or cause a commercial disaster," said Harrington.

The concern is that leading UK organisations are at present ill-equipped to deal with the problems crackers, s'kiddies and cyber-terrorists pose for the smooth running of business in the UK. These include issues such as financial crimes, information theft, money laundering, tax evasion, credit card frauds, invasion of privacy, theft of identity, virus attacks and hacking.

In response, the CMA has created a division called the Institute for Communications Arbitration and Forensics (ICAF) which will encourage business to give security a higher priority.

ICAF will forge links with Universities to promote training and make alliances with others in the security field and aims to pool best practice and help with the prevention and detection of cyber-crime.

Greg Smith, technical director of ICAF, said it would also act as an honest broker in dispute resolution about computer security issues, such as the damage caused by Web site defacement.

Companies are often reluctant to take security-related disputes through a civil court, due to fear of publicity and uncertainity about the outcome of cases, according to Smith, who suggested dispute resolution might offer a better approach. ®

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Gartner invents new type of cybercrime

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Communications Management Association

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