Two thirds of UK businesses prey to cybercrime: study

Cybercrime is on the rise in the United Kingdom and for the first time, those businesses that are hit by hacks are more likely to be attacked by hackers from outside of the company instead of inside, according to a study published Wednesday by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Of the 148 companies surveyed for the study “Cybercrime Survey 2001,” two thirds have been the victim of a “serious” cybercrime in the past year, said CBI spokesman Roger Davidson. The CBI defined a serious cybercrime as a case of hacking of a company’s computer system, a virus attack or credit card fraud.

“The study was carried out over the past two or three months and looked at cybercrime in the United Kingdom, specifically over the past year,” Davidson said.

Of the cybercrimes that occurred in the past year, 45 per cent were committed by hackers, 13 per cent by former employees, another 13 per cent by organized crime, and only 11 per cent of the cybercrimes committed were carried out by a company’s current employees, the study said.

The U.K. study found that U.K. businesses perceived business-to-business (B-to-B) transactions to be more secure than business-to-consumer (B-to-C) online transactions. Specifically, 53 per cent said they considered the Internet to be a safe place for B-to-B transactions, while only 32 per cent felt the same way about B-to-C transactions, the CBI said.

The CBI called on the U.K. government to be more proactive in combating cybercrime. The CBI also urged the U.K. government to establish a U.K. Center for Cybercrime Complaints, which would be similar to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center – a partnership between the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) launched in the United States in May 2000.

The CBI study was conducted in partnership with the U.K. Fraud Advisory Panel, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, ArmorGroup Inc. and the Nottingham Trent University International Fraud Prevention Research Centre, CBI said.

The Confederation of British Industry, in London, can be contacted at