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Wednesday, 29 August, 2001, 03:21 GMT 04:21 UK
Calls for cybercrime database
graphic of bombing a computer
Business leaders are calling on the government to set up a national database to combat internet fraud.

Modelled on the United States Internet Fraud Complaint Centre, the Centre for Cybercrime Complaints in the UK would channel complaints to the relevant investigating bodies.

Business bosses also want the 1990 Computer Misuses Act to be extended to cover attacks that cause IT systems to fail.

The calls follow a survey of members of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) which suggested cybercrime is deterring companies - particularly those with fewer than 500 employees - from selling goods and services on the internet.

Most serious cybercrime in the past year
Virus: 43.8%
Hacking: 16.2%
Adverse comment on internet: 10.5%
Infringement of intellectual property: 8.6%
Illegal accessing of database: 7.6%
Distortion of website: 5.7%
Credit card fraud: 3.8%
Legal liability issue: 1.9%
Denial of service attack: 1.9%

Two thirds of companies surveyed had experienced a "serious incident" in the past year.

Just 53% regarded the internet as a safe place to do business with other companies, while only 32% thought it was a secure way of selling to consumers.

Of the most serious cybercrimes in the past year, 44.8% were committed by hackers, 13.4% by former employees, 12.8% by organised criminal gangs, 11.5% by current employees, 7.9% by customers, 5.8% by competitors, 2.6% by political and protest groups and 1.4% by terrorists, according to the businesses surveyed.

The survey suggests the financial services industry is particularly afraid of hackers, while other sectors fear damaged reputations and trust more than losing money.

Some 69% of companies surveyed said their financial losses were negligible and only 4% of the most serious incidents during the past year were credit card frauds.

The survey also suggests that nearly 40% of businesses do not have a board director responsible for tackling cybercrime.

This survey clearly shows that fears about potential financial losses and damage to reputation from cybercrime are stalling the growth of e-business

Digby Jones
The CBI director-general, Digby Jones, said: "This survey clearly shows that fears about potential financial losses and damage to reputation from cybercrime are stalling the growth of e-business, especially for business-to-consumer transactions.

"That will only be overcome when all parties are reassured that adequate security is in place to protect them.

"Achieving that means first understanding what the threats are and the government keeping the law up-to-date and making sure it is properly enforced."

Tony Bingham, PriceWaterhouseCoopers
"Many companies did not realise they were victims"
The BBC's Mike Sergeant
"Hackers are proving a nightmare for businesses"
See also:

21 Jul 01 | World
US targets cyber-crime
20 Jul 01 | Sci/Tech
White House dodges web virus
05 May 01 | Americas
White House website attacked
14 Jul 01 | Americas
Hacking Las Vegas
27 Oct 00 | Business
Hackers hit Microsoft
11 Feb 00 | UK
A - Z: Hack attack
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