Home Office – Cybercrime goes unpunished in the UK

Pierluigi Paganini April 06, 2015

British law enforcement is in difficulty facing the cybercrime, just one computer hacker a month convicted of cyber crime out of 100,000 incidents a year.

Cybercrime is becoming very attractive for ordinary crime, high earnings, limited risks than other criminal activities and poor perception of crime are among the elements that are facilitating the rapid spread of this type of illegal practice.

In September 2014, the Europol released a report that warned traditional gangs are increasingly turning to cybercrime for the above reasons.

Home Office ministers recently released data related to conviction under the Computer Misuse Act, which shows an average of one conviction under the Act every month for the past 23 years.

The data reveals that despite more that 100,000 crimes being committed every year, just one cyber criminal a month is being brought to justice.

“One computer hacker a month convicted of cyber crime out of 100,000 incidents a year” reports the British Mirror.

Recently the joint effort of law enforcement has his cyber criminals syndicates and black markets, but according security experts in UK the police are failing to tackle the rise in cybercrime in the country.

“People used to bust into a branch of a bank with a sawn off shotgun, getting on average £30,000 every time. Now they can sit in another country, buy someone’s services to break into bank accounts online and get a hundred times more money without putting themselves directly at risk,” Professor Alan Woodward, one of the authors of the report, told Mirror.co.uk.

Personal data theft and online stalking and just a few sample of most profitable activities for criminal crews in UK.

The Mirror UK reveals that the Home Office ministers were forced to divulge the information last month, campaigners from the Digital Trust, an organization that supports victims of online abuse, confirm the drama behind this data.

According to the crime experts, the police still focuses on offline crimes, meanwhile criminal organizations are investing in online activities.

“The police still concentrate their resources on traditional offences offline, when most people are more likely to be mugged online than in the street.” explained Harry Fletcher, director of the Digital Trust. “The law needs to change. It should, for example, be an offence to use any technological device to locate, listen to or watch a person without legitimate purpose.”

“In addition, restrictions should be placed on the sale of spyware without lawful reasons. It should also be against the law to install a webcam or any other form or surveillance device without the target’s knowledge.”

To give you an idea of the economic impact of the cybercrime on the UK let’s consider the data published by The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. The Bureau reported more than £670m losses caused by ten most common online frauds between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014.

Home Office - Cybercrime goes unpunished in the UK 2

According to the FBI, cybercrime is now more lucrative than drug trafficking worldwide, and the growing trend is really worrying.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, the majority of online crimes isn’t reported to the Justice and the British Government does not know exactly the amount related to loss to both business and ordinary people.

“But between 1990 to 2006 only 183 defendants were proceeded against and 134 found guilty under the Computer Misuse Act. Over this period there were five years when there were no prosecutions, and a further ten with fewer than 20.”

A parliamentary answer to Elfyn Llwyd MP reported there were 156 prosecutions with 128 leading to a finding of guilt from 2007 to 2013, with an average of only 1.5 per month.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  cybercrime,  UK)

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