Today the Commons Select Committee published its report on Malware and cybercrime. The report stated that the government should do more to educate people about how they can protect themselves on line and advocated a major publicity campaign to do so.
The report stated:
- Online identify theft in 2011 costs individuals £1.7 billion
- Online scams cost individuals £1.4 billion
- Scareware (where cybercriminals tick users into downloading harmful software) cost individuals £30 million
The report cited statistics from McAfee which stated that 38% of respondents to the latest Norton Cybercrime Report had suffered a malware incident. Malware was the most common attack vector followed by online credit card fraud and network profile hacking.
Andrew Miller, Chairman of the committee, commented “Government departments need to realise that better public information about computer safety could save huge numbers of people the hassle of having their personal details stolen.”
The Select Committee’s report also said far more needed to be done in regards to the policing of cyber crime. The report states:
“There is no overarching body that provides consumers with a first place of contact to complain about disreputable or criminal behaviour.’ It continued ‘While the police now clearly take the problem of cyber crime seriously, both they and the Minister agreed that the policing of cyber crime needed to become mainstream to the point that local police officers are comfortable talking about cyber security. We share the sentiments of Janet Williams of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO):
I don’t think we are as good as we need to be in policing, in terms of every single police officer in this country being as equipped to give a member of the public a piece of advice around cyber-security as they are, for example, for their windows and their doors—their general house issues.”
This has surely been the case for some time. Hopefully, however, this select committee recommendation will act as the much needed catalyst for the government to implement a complete overhaul of how it treats cybercrime. Cybercrime grows exponentially in parallel with the development of technology. Those in power though, lag well behind in terms of the education, training and adequate policing. Some would argue, however, that the cyber criminals will always be ahead of the game. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try and bridge the gap.