The government recognises the growing problem of cyber-crime among UK businesses, which is why it has announced its intentions to combat security breaches.
This is an area of increasing concern for the police and public officials, with fraud and cyber-related offences now accounting for half of all criminal acts, according to recent crime figures from the Office for National Statistics.
As a result, the government understands it needs to do more to address the problem so it does not continue to spiral out of control.
The latest report commented that it is not just businesses targeted for financial gains that are at risk, and individuals can also experience cyber threats.
“Online crime is not confined to attempts by criminals to defraud people or businesses or to hold them to ransom. It is also used to spread hate, or to sell illegal weapons or substances, or by abusers to take their criminal behaviour online. Online offending is as serious as offline offending,” it stated.
Subsequently, its new Online Safety Bill has been designed to reduce how much illegal content and harmful activity can take place over the internet. However, if it does appear, the intention is that it will be removed quickly.
Indeed, the impact of cyber-crime can be huge, with victims describing feeling violated and fearful of what further repercussions might arise from the security breaches.
With regards to businesses, these crimes can destroy a company’s reputation or result in employees losing their jobs.
According to the government report, this problem has been exacerbated since the pandemic began, as a result of criminals looking for any opportunity to exploit individuals and businesses.
Over the last five years, the government has spent more than £195 million to prevent cyber-crime in the UK by establishing a law enforcement network specialised to deal with online breaches.
Last year, it launched the National Cyber Security Centre, which has stopped 50,000 scams since it began, as well as having removed 100,000 websites.
However, it hopes the centre can do more by improving its understanding of how fraudsters operate.
“We will replace Action Fraud with an improved national fraud and cybercrime reporting system and increase intelligence capabilities in the NCA [National Crime Agency] and the national security community to identify the most harmful criminals and organised criminal gangs,” the report stated.
It also promised to increase the number of both arrests and prosecutions in this field by boosting capacity within the City of London Police and Regional Organised Crime Units across England and Wales. In addition to this, it will create a fraud investigative function in the NCA that will concentrate on the most serious – and dangerous – hackers.
The government also promises to offer better support for those who have been victims of fraud by expanding the National Economic Crime Victim Care Unit.
Later this year, there will be a new cyber security strategy, focussing on stamping out online hate crime and improving collaboration with the National Cyber Security Centre and the National Cyber Force.
The government recently showed its commitment to reducing cyber-crime by investing £700,000 in the UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration (UKC3), Holyrood reported.
This money is coming from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and is intended to encourage cyber security companies to collaborate, expand their workforce, and develop expertise among their employees for the benefit of the entire country.