UK Government’s “Crime Against Businesses” Report Omits Cybercrime

Experts say that a study on crime that ignores cybercrime is misleading

On Thursday, the UK Home Office released its 2012 “Crime against businesses” report. The study shows that the number of burglaries has decreased from 25% to 12% since 2002.

The number of vandalism and fraud incidents have also decreased. Theft dropped from 52% to 38%.

However, while these figures show clear improvements, IT security experts are displeased with the fact that the study ignores cybercrimes.

“Of course if you count out the largest new market for crimes that has appeared in the last twenty years you are going to produce some rosy crime statistics, showing nice 50%+ drops. However, a report on crime which doesn’t include cybercrime is like a sports study which chooses to ignore football,” Daniel Beazer, director of strategy at FireHost told Help Net Security.

“And even if the survey had featured cyber attacks, it still probably wouldn't show a true picture. Crime surveys and statistics by definition only cover reported crime, and most go unreported. All the more so with cybercrime,” he added.

“Government reports such as this one should endeavor to make its readers more, not less vigilant and unfortunately this one could have the exact opposite effect.”

Ross Brewer of LogRhythm agrees that the results of the report are misleading.

“There are few things in life we can be absolutely sure of, but one of them is the fact that the number of cyber attacks aimed at UK businesses is on the rise,” Brewer told Info Security.

“There is little point in talking up the reduction in the number of burglaries or shoplifting incidents, when hackers are routinely compromising corporate networks,” he added.

The expert highlights the fact that a report on crime that omits cybercrime is like a sports study that ignores football.

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