E-business threatened by cybercrime

According to the CBI’s Cybercrime Survey 2001 SMEs are willing to adopt business to consumer initiatives – selling goods online – but are shying away from doing so because of fears of fraud and a lack of resources.

Only a third of SMEs have the facilities to sell their goods over the internet, compared with the majority of large organisations, which are well equipped to launch online retail initiatives.

And companies with 10,000 plus employees are more likely to launch B2B services, as they remain more confident about security procedures for conducting B2B transactions than B2C ones.

The survey revealed just over a half of large organisations regarded the internet as a safe place for B2B and yet more than two thirds of the companies surveyed said they had been the victim of cybercrime.

Companies named virus attacks and hacking as the biggest threat to their online security. Last year’s technology news was dominated by the emergence of global viruses like ‘Melissa’ and ‘I Love You’ as well as high-profile hacking of software giant Microsoft and multi-national telecom company BT to name just two.

Digby Jones, the director-general of the CBI, said the fear of potential losses and damage to reputation was stalling e-business growth, especially in the B2C arena.

He identified security as the major issue saying success could only be achieved when ‘all parties are reassured that adequate security is in place to protect them’.

And George Staple, chairman of the Fraud Advisory Panel, agreed, saying user confidence in online trading was crucial to the development of e-business.

As a result of its survey, the CBI is suggesting that companies regularly evaluate their e-business risks, including the potential for cybercriminal activities and review their internet strategy and related risk management at board level.

In addition, the business group reckons companies should emphasise training and awareness amongst their employees.

A survey by PwC earlier this year put the cost of global cybercrime at £45bn.


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CBI website

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