The UK’s surge towards an online existence may have serious security concerns as new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show there were 2.5 million incidents of crime falling under the Computer Misuse Act in the last year alone.
According to the report, the most common type of incident falling under the Act involved the victim’s computer or other internet enabled device being infected by a virus, as well as crimes in which someone’s email or social media accounts were hacked.
The ONS also created a ‘Fraud harm pyramid’, illustrating the direct impact on individuals
Fraud harm pyramid
Along with these latest figures, the ONS revealed it is evaluating the way it reports cyber crime, in an effort to more accurately reflect the way it fits into wider crime patterns.
Is cyber crime rising or just being re-categorised?
The report explained: “It is important to recognise that these new data are not simply uncovering new crimes, but finding better ways of capturing existing crime that has not been measured well in the past.
“However, it is not possible to say whether these new figures represent an increase or decrease compared with earlier levels. We have some good information on past trends for some specific types of fraud, most notably bank and payment card fraud from both the CSEW and FFA UK.
“Both of these sources indicate a rise in volumes of incidents followed by subsequent falls. CSEW estimates showed steady year-on-year increases from the year ending March 2006 (when the first estimates were calculated), peaking in the year ending March 2010.
“This was followed by declines until the year ending March 2013, coinciding with the introduction of chip and pin technology. Since the year ending March 2013 estimates of plastic card fraud have fluctuated. This trend broadly reflects data collected by FFA UK on fraud losses on UK-issued cards between 2004 and 2014.”