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A third of UK businesses fail to report information security crimes and breaches, according to a new survey.

The poll of 285 firms, which was followed up by in depth interviews with 20 Chief Security Officers (CSOs) of large enterprises, revealed that IT managers are faced with a dilemma about whether or not to report crime. Businesses are subject to hacking attacks almost daily, ranging from simple port scans and Trojan attacks to more serious assaults.

Managers need to weigh the balance between an organisation’s responsibility to report crime in order to prevent and predict incidents and the possible effects on their reputation from becoming known as a target of hacker attacks.

Protecting a firm's reputation is often the primary concern. "From my experience as a media lawyer, reporting crime to the police is a double edged sword as invariably the press have found out about the incident within 24 hours of reporting it to the police, creating a real PR risk." Says media lawyer Jonathan Coad from Swan Turton.

Phillip Virgo, Secretary General of think tank Eurim, said that firms need a clearer idea of where to turn to for assistance. "The time has come to respond to the needs of the customer for security tools they can understand, realistic advice, guidance and support on how to use them and for reporting systems that will route their enquiry to some-one who will respond - be it law enforcement or technical support," he said.

The survey was carried out by the organisers of the Infosecurity Europe 2007 conference, which takes places in London's Olympia between 24 and 26 April. Cyber-crime will be the topic of several keynotes and seminars at the show including the keynote on, Should You Always Report Crime?. The conference session will be chaired by Geoff Smith, head of information security policy at the DTI. Representatives from law enforcement and industry will also debate e-crime reporting structures and related matters during a panel discussion that forms parts of the keynote, due to take place at 1500 on Wednesday, 25 April. ®

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