Businesses choose not to report cyber crime

But the government’s National Hi-Tech Crime Unit hit back saying police cannot deal with the crimes unless it knows about them.

Speaking at the Infosecurity conference in London this week, David Spinks, director of information assurance at outsourcer EDS, which manages some three and a half million desktops for customers, said breaches are massively under reported by businesses.

‘What we are seeing is an increase in the occurrence and attempted crimes using technology and particularly the internet. The amount of security breaches reported is only tip of iceberg. For every one admitted there might be 100 more held within companies.’

Clifford May, principal consultant at security services firm Integralis, said when it investigates security breaches for clients and the perpetrator is traced to a foreign country the company will not pursue it in over 90 per cent of cases.

The main issue raised by users is the need for a clear and confidential reporting system for security breaches that has a chance of a successful prosecution, according to the industry panel.

Tactical and technical industry liaison officer at the NHTCU, Tony Neate, said the unit is looking at a confidential online reporting system direct to its officer but still needs businesses to tell them what is really happening.

‘Unless we know what the problems are out there we can’t deal with the issue,’ he said.

In the meantime he urged users to report it to their local police force as they would with any other type of crime.

‘There are 43 police forces in this country. If your house is broken into you phone your local police force. That’s how we deal with it, that’s how we have always dealt with it. It will be fed through to us if it is important enough for us to deal with.’

And only the most serious hi-tech crimes against business would be directly investigated by the unit, he said.

‘We are a national organisation, we deal with serious organised crimeon a national and trans-national basis. We want confidential reportingbut we have to be realistic. There are 40 of us now, rising to 90 inthe next year or two.’

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