The overall cost to the UK economy from cyber crime is £27bn ($43.54 bn) per year, according to the first joint Government and industry report
into the extent and cost of cyber crime across the UK, launched by the Office of Cyber Security & Information Assurance in the Cabinet Office and information intelligence experts Detica.
"The Cost of Cyber Crime" report reveals that whilst government and the citizen are affected by rising levels of cyber crime, at an estimated £2.2bn ($3.54 bn) and £3.1bn ($4.99bn) cost respectively, business bears the lion?s share of the cost. The report indicates that, at a total estimated cost of £21bn ($33.86bn), over three-quarters of the economic impact of cyber crime in the UK is felt by business. In all probability, and in line with worst-case scenarios, the real impact of cyber crime is likely to be much greater, the report says.
"With society now almost entirely dependent on cyber space, developing effective strategies to tackle cyber crime requires a better understanding of its impact. Its breadth and scale have been notoriously difficult to understand and past attempts to set cyber crime policy or develop strategies have been hampered by a real lack of insight into the problem," the report said.
"The results of this study suggest that businesses need to look
again at their defences to determine whether their information is indeed well protected. Encouraging companies in all sectors to make
investments in improved cyber security, based on improved risk assessments, is likely to considerably reduce the economic impact of
cyber crime on the UK," the study concluded.
The study uses the term 'cyber crime' to mean the illegal activities
undertaken by criminals for financial gain. Such activities exploit vulnerabilities in the use of the internet and other electronic systems to illicitly access or attack information and services used
by citizens, business and the Government. Cyber criminals can range from foreign intelligence services and large organised crime groups,
to disreputable (but otherwise legitimate) companies and individuals or small groups of opportunists.
The spacific study focused on less-understood cyber crimes, including
identity theft and online scams affecting
UK citizens; IP theft, industrial espionage and extortion
targeted at UK businesses; and fiscal fraud committed against the U.K. Government.