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Business calls on government to boost cyber crime fight

UK businesses are reticent to report high-tech crimes and are frustrated by the government's failure to provide adequate policing resources after the National High Tech Crime Unit was closed and its work subsumed Serious Organised Crime Agency in 2006.

Sixty nine percent of chief security officers in teh survey reported an increase in targeted hacking attacks, with 3.8% stating they have experiences a "dramatic increase".

But only 4% of respondents said they bothered to report every incident of high-tech crime, a survey which got responses from 54 blue-chip members of the Corporate IT Forum revealed.

Fifty seven percent of those questioned by CIT Forum said they felt high-tech crime in the workplace would not be dealt with properly by the police. A further 30% said there was no single body to report high-tech crimes to. The rest said the reporting process was either too complicated or too lengthy.

The Home Office announced on 1 October it would fund the creation of a Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU). The role of the PCeU will be to provide specialist officer training and co-ordinate corr-force initiatives to investigate cyber crimes. But CIT Forum expressed concern the organisation's remit is not yet clear and that the proposed £7 million of funding over three years will not be enough.

Security chiefs are defending their businesses on a number of fronts, from website defacements, denial of service (DoS) attacks, the deliberate infection of systems through worms and viruses, and the abuse of wireless networks. CIT Forum, which represents technology managers at the UK's largest firms, found that 25% of respondents had experienced a virus infection and 27% of firms had experienced a DoS attacks or penetration from unauthorised users.

Forty percent said they would support the government bringing back a National High-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) like institution. The NHTCU was disbanded in 2006.

Nearly half, 48%, of respondents also said they would give their highest level of support to consistent and appropriate penalties for cyber criminals.

CIT Forum said the survey indicates most security chiefs feel there is a clear role for increased government activity to develop clear legislation around electronic crime. This includes working with international government counterparts in investigating cyber crime.

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