Feeds

Cybercrime losses tax UK small business

Exposed SMEs call for reporting security blanket

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Cybercrime and fraud are costing Britain's small business £800 a year each, according to a survey by the UK's Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The SME lobbying group is calling for more action to tackle online crime as a response. More than half (54 per cent) of smaller businesses polled in the survey said they were a victim of crime in one way or another over the last 12 months – 37 per cent reported problems with phishing emails, 15 per cent were affected by credit card fraud (eg chargebacks for fraudulent internet transactions) and another 15 per cent fell foul of security problems caused by viruses and hackers.

Reported losses as a result of fraud ran between £500 and £5,000, while the average cost across the SME sector is £768 a year. The study found that one third of small business fail to report fraud or online crime to the police or their banks because they lack confidence in the system.

Half (53 per cent) said a clear cybercrime reporting structure was needed, while 44 per cent wanted a named contact in their local police force to deal with online fraud and crime reports. The survey reflects a widespread discontent about reporting structures in the business community that has existed since at least 2006, when the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit was borged into SOCA. The government has finally responded to complaints about cybercrime reporting with the creation of the Police Central E-Crime Unit (PCeU).

The FSB survey found that 85 per cent of the sample of small businesses in Scotland and England surveyed would report fraud if a designated reporting centre were set up to collect intelligence and launch prosecutions.

The small business lobby group is calling for the Police Central E-Crime Unit and the National Fraud Strategic Authority, which are due to launch the National Fraud Reporting Centre later this year, to work together closely to ensure they establish a "central, well advertised and accessible method of reporting fraud and e-crime". It also wants to see local police contacts who specialise in fraud and e-crime involving small businesses and action by banks in making sure merchants are clear up front about the risks of card not present fraud.

Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses home affairs chairman, said: "E-crime is becoming an increasingly serious issue for small firms, which are losing up to £800 a year to fraud and online crime – a cost which could have a significant impact on a small business.

"The internet is a huge and unregulated area but businesses have to have confidence that there are at least some structures there to support them... Businesses are currently being left very exposed," he added.

The FSB, which has 215,000 members among small businesses and the self-employed, has produced a paper on the issue, entitled Inhibiting Enterprise: fraud and online crime against small businesses, which can be downloaded here (PDF). ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.