Cybercrime is costing UK businesses a staggering amount of cash


Another new piece of research has pointed to the growing danger of cybercrime affecting businesses in the UK, and the extent of losses related to online crime.

Apparently UK businesses have lost a total of just over £1 billion due to the nefarious actions of cybercriminals from March last year through to March 2016, according to the report from Get Safe Online and Action Fraud.

There were 37,070 online crimes reported in the last year, which was up 22% compared to the previous year, a not inconsiderable increase. And of course there will be incidents which aren't reported (due to businesses simply keeping things quiet because they don't want to risk any reputational damage).

As for what businesses should be watching out for, the study points to a large rise in ransomware – no surprises there – and also in CEO fraud, which is where a staff member is conned into making a payment via an email which is made to look like it comes from a manager.

There's also been a large (66%) rise in 'mandate fraud' in which the criminal pretends to be from a company that the victim has a direct debit with, and subsequently gets the hapless employee to change that direct debit (or standing order).

Corporate employee fraud

Corporate employee fraud has also increased, with either current or ex-staff members engaging in theft of some kind or misusing company credit cards and expense accounts – this is now in the top 10 most reported crimes over the past year, with a total of 1,440 cases in the UK.

So which areas were worst affected by online crime in the UK? That would be London and Essex, with the former unsurprisingly being well in the lead as the Metropolitan police received 5,742 reports of cybercrime, compared to 2,505 in Essex.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, noted that businesses should focus on education and training employees. He said: "These latest figures show the enormous, and quite frankly daunting impact online crime can have on a business … To tackle this issue head on, businesses need to review their own skills and knowledge, determine if they need outside help, and then create measures to prevent, detect and respond to potential security threats. It's all about education, and staff must be aware of this plan and trained where necessary.

"With new data regulations in place, we'll see more and more businesses start to report online crime and realise that the right staff training can go a long way to helping prevent this growing problem."

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).