The Crime rate across England and Wales was shown to have doubled over the past 12 months after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) added the number of recorded cybercrime incidents for the first time.
The crime survey released last week, showed that the underlying crime rate, excluding cybercrime, continued to fall, by 8% to an estimated 6.5 million offences in the 12 months to June. Once the cybercrime figures were added, the overall crime rate doubled to take the overall figure beyond 11.6 million.
The report suggests that criminals have taken to the internet to perform their nefarious deeds. The police have effectively mastered the ability to catch the perpetrators of many traditional crimes such as assault, theft and murder. Years of perfecting crime fighting techniques have given the authorities the advantage in traditional acts of crime, but as the stats show; criminals are adapting to and taking advantage of the internet to commit crime.
‘It has been argued that crime has not actually fallen but changed, moving to newer forms of crime not captured by the survey. Clearly some crime has moved online but this should be seen in the context of the long-term fall in traditional crime,’ said John Flatley, the ONS head of crime.
The ONS report showed that there were 2.5 million incidents of cybercrime recorded under the Computer Misuse Act. Attacks on networks, phishing scams and malware made up the bulk of the incidents, but it was virus attacks that were recognised as the most common occurrence.
Thanks to the new way in which crime figures are now being recorded cybercrime has now emerged to be the single largest type of criminal offence recorded in the UK. There are many different types of cybercrime such as hacking, online piracy and other dark deeds, but the very fact that the ONS has taken such action will go a long way in helping to raise awareness of the threats to the cyber security of businesses and individuals.
Also raising awareness was the security breach suffered by TalkTalk. The damage to the company’s reputation has been done and its financial losses are likely to be high.
Seeing the media attention the company is now facing should spur CEO’s and leaders of organisations to take the cyber security matter seriously. Not understanding the threat is no longer an excuse as companies like PGI offer training courses aimed at educating organisational leaders of the importance of cyber security. Courses such as the Cyber Security Awareness (CSA) course can go a long way in helping an organisation be better prepared to face threats. Education is the key to reducing the threat of cybercrime.
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