Feeds

Hi-tech crime threatens UK plc – survey

Sabotage, virus attacks, fraud

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Website security in corporate America

British companies consider sabotage of data or networks, virus attacks and financial fraud as a real threat to the future of their business.

A survey of 105 firms conducted by NOP for the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) yielded reports of more than 3,000 separate incidents with virus attacks accounting for 1,305. Hacking and Denial of Service attacks accounted for one in five (20 per cent) of all attacks.

Employee sabotage of date and networks were cited as particular problems by many firms.

Despite these various security threats fewer than one in five of those quizzed in the survey carried out regular security audit, something the authorities (and doubtless security consultants) would like to see become more common in future.

Detective Chief Superintendent Len Hynds, Head of the NHTCU, said: "With 87% of respondents reporting that they had suffered some kind of hi-tech attack it is not so much 'will you become a victim' but rather 'when
will you know that you are a victim'".

More than a third of those companies interviewed said they spent less than one per cent of the firm's total spend on prevention of computer-enabled crime.

"Security is not just about the height of the perimeter fence anymore. Business must focus on the issue as a broader topic which deals with business processes, policies, physical security and lines of accountability," DCS Hynds added.

Although almost all respondents had experienced at least one incident of serious computer-related crime, only 56 per cent had called the police in response to any of these events.

Companies mostly involved the police when suffering more traditional crimes such as fraud and theft, typically where there was a need for an insurance claim. But more than 10 per cent said they would avoid involving the police if their IT systems were attacked. Typically, they fear that reporting crimes to the police will result in publicising their security shortcomings and affect customer confidence, so damaging their brand.

To make companies feel more comfortable about reporting security incidents to the police the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit has launched a Confidentiality "designed to provide a safe platform for early confidential discussions between law enforcement and industry."

Since its launch in April 2001, the NHTCU has conducted 30 operations as well as provided assistance and support on various occasions to local, national and international law enforcement agencies. To date, the Unit has arrested 70 people involved in serious and organised computer related crime.

The NHTCU's survey, released today, echoes the themes of the more extensive Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) annual Information Security Breaches Survey .

That survey, which involved 1,000 telephone interviews and 100 face-to-face interviews, also called for greater investment in security systems and warned of heightened risk from computer viruses, fraud and Internet-based attacks.

It found the average cost of a security breach is £30,000, with several companies reporting incidents which cost more than £500,000. ®

Related Stories

Organised Net crime rising sharply - top UK cop
Web pedos crack into corporate servers
UK plc reamed online
Cybercops are go!

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Blood-crazed Microsoft axes Trustworthy Computing Group
Security be not a dirty word, me Satya. But crevice, bigod...
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.