Page last updated at 00:34 GMT, Monday, 3 November 2008

Firms demand aid on hi-tech crime

Man typing on computer, Eyewire
Many businesses feel they are virtually under siege

UK businesses have little faith that the government is doing enough to tackle hi-tech crime, says a report.

57% of those questioned by the Corporate IT Forum said they felt hi-tech crime in the workplace would not be dealt with properly by the police.

Only 4% of respondents said they bothered to report every incident of hi-tech crime, it revealed.

The results come at a time when businesses report that they are almost under siege by cyber criminals.

The survey of the 3,500 members of the CIT Forum, which represents technology managers at the UK's largest firms, found that 69% reported seeing increases in the amount of hi-tech crime committed against them.

'Too risk-free'

Firms were being hit by viruses, denial of service attacks and website defacements, the survey said. The variety and intensity of attacks led many to believe that hi-tech crime has been taken over by professional criminals.

Said the survey: "It has... become too easy and too risk-free for criminals to become involved in cyber crime."

Responding to a question about what would make a difference, 48% of respondents called for "consistent and appropriate penalties for cyber criminals and cross-border e-crime legislation".


David Roberts, head of the Corporate IT Forum, said: "IT chiefs in UK PLCs don't think the government appreciates the scale of the cyber crime threat, the seriousness of the threat or how much it's costing."

Even the creation of the new e-crime unit would not do much to improve this opinion, suggested qualitative interviews done alongside the survey.

Many of those tech bosses questioned believe the unit would not have the resources to tackle the boom in hi-tech crime.

"Business confidence in the government's ability to help them fight cyber crime is at rock-bottom," said Mr Roberts.

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