Official figures which claim to show that fraud in on the rise while ‘computer misuse’ has declined reflect the authorities’ lack of understanding of cybercrime, according to Bluedog Security Monitoring.
The figures released by the Office of National Statistics include data from different sources. According to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), fraud cases amongst businesses rose by 19% in the year ending September 2019 to 743,413.
Meanwhile the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimates that fraud cases amongst the general public in England and Wales increased by 9% to 3.8 million. The increase was driven mainly by a rise in ‘bank and credit account fraud’.
However the NFIB reports that ‘computer misuse crime’ amongst businesses fell by 11% to 21,471 offences, while the CSEW estimates that amongst the general public, it was unchanged at just over a million offences.
Tim Thurlings of bluedog says that the figures show that we need better ways to measure cybercrime. “The figures for ‘computer misuse’ may be the tip of the iceberg, as cybercrime could be behind many fraud cases.
“For example, many cases of payment card fraud are due to criminals penetrating retailers’ point of sale systems and capturing people’s card details. In other cases, people are tricked into paying money into a criminal’s account after receiving a phishing email.
“The figures reflect the lack of knowledge amongst the police and finance industry about cybercrime, and also the difficulties in defining it as criminals become complex and sophisticated. In many cases it is difficult to place an offence in one category or another.
“Certainly we need better ways to measure cybercrime and understand the true impact on business and society.”