THE GOVERNMENT has set up a specialist unit to deal with the growing threat of cyber crime, claiming that more people are affected by internet criminals than by “offline” ones.
Security minister James Brokenshire yesterday said the threat is “one of the biggest challenges we face as a country” and that tackling cyber crime would save the economy billions of pounds.
He said that setting up the National Cyber Security Programme – which launched in shadow form at the beginning of March – had already led to 19 arrests and that it had confiscated £500,000 in assets.
Brokenshire said that the unit would enable law enforcement authorities to collaborate better when it launches in full in October.
“We are facing a growing and ever more complex threat,” Brokenshire said.
“But our response to it has grown too. And our ambition is to go further. The internet should be a source of tremendous economic and cultural growth for the UK. Cyber security should be an important part of that growth.”
He said that one in three adults had been affected by cyber crime in 2012, a far higher proportion than the one in five who fell victim to non computer-related offences.
Fraud and hacking have become increasingly important issues for UK consumers as we spend more of our time online.
The UK spends more per head on internet shopping than any other country in the world, and so is increasingly vulnerable.
Consumers and businesses lost £27bn due to cyber crime in 2012, according to security experts RSA.