Cyber crime warning

The National Crime Agency has published the Cyber Crime Assessment 2016, outlining the immediate threat to UK businesses from cyber crime. This is the first cyber crime assessment produced jointly by the NCA and industry partners.

The NCA reports that the accelerating pace of technology and criminal cyber capability currently outpaces the UK’s collective response to cyber crime, calling for stronger collaborative working between government, law enforcement and, crucially, business to reduce vulnerabilities and prevent crime.

The assessment shows that cyber crime activity is growing fast and evolving, with the threats from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and ransomware attacks increasing significantly in 2015.

The NCA assesses that the most advanced and serious cyber crime threat to the UK is the direct or indirect result of a few hundred international cyber criminals, who target UK businesses to commit highly profitable, malware-facilitated fraud.

Data breaches are the most common cyber crimes committed against businesses and the NCA estimates that cyber crime costs the UK economy billions of pounds per year.

Under-reporting continues to obscure the full impact of cyber crime in the UK. This shortfall in reporting hampers the ability of law enforcement to understand the operating methods of cyber criminals and most effectively respond to the threat.

The NCA is urging businesses to view cyber crime not only as a technical issue but as a board-level responsibility, and to make use of the reporting paths available to them, sharing intelligence with law enforcement and each other.

The NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit leads the UK’s response to cyber crime, working in partnership with police forces, Regional Organised Crime Units and international law enforcement partners, to share intelligence and identify and disrupt the most significant cyber criminals worldwide.

Jamie Saunders, Director NCA National Cyber Crime Unit, said: “This is the first time the NCA has released a joint assessment with industry on cyber crime, and it is a good example of the collaborative approach between business, law enforcement and government that we need to cultivate and strengthen if we are to succeed.

“I hope that senior members of UK business, and not only those involved in the protection of their IT systems, take note of its contents and think seriously about ways that they can improve their defences and help law enforcement in the fight against cyber crime.”

The Government will publish its new National Cyber Security Strategy soon. It will set out the government’s plans to invest £1.9bn in cyber security over the next five years to protect the UK in cyberspace and will include our strategic approach to tackling cyber crime.

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