'Every 10 seconds' a cyber crime is committed

A cybercrime is being committed every ten seconds in Britain, new research suggests.

Computer crooks struck 3.24 million times last year, with some online offences outstripping their real world equivalents, the figures show.

Even this figure may be just the tip of the iceberg, as 90 per cent of cybercrimes are thought to go unreported.

Experts are warning that not enough is being done to tackle the problem, seriously denting Britain's aspirations to be a world IT leader.

Topping the list of computer crimes last year were the 1.94million cases of online harassment – including threatening or abusive e-mails, or offensive allegations posted on websites.

The next most common offences were the 850,000 sex crimes, such as cyberstalking, unwanted sexual approaches in chatrooms and paedophiles grooming children for sex.

There were also 207,000 financial frauds – up a third on 2005 and outstripping 199,800 offline frauds.

In addition, there were 92,000 online identity theft offences – about 40 per cent of all such cases – and 144,500 cases of hacking into another PC.

Tom Ilube, of online security firm Garlik, which compiled the figures, said cyber criminals were being helped by the explosion of personal information posted on social networking sites.

He added: 'I don't think cyber crime is recognised as being as much of a priority as it should be. If we look at the UK's ambition to be a leading knowledge society, this is a direct challenge that could severely damage confidence.'

The Home Office said: 'We are working closely with industry and law enforcement agencies to improve safety.'

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