Redscan Criticises New ONS/CESW 2018 Crime Report Suggesting Cybercrime In Decline

By   ISBuzz Team
Writer , Information Security Buzz | Oct 19, 2018 09:37 am PST

The ONS released end of year data for Crime in England and Wales this morning, a key finding of which was that cybercrime (classified as computer misuse) was down 30 percent.

Mark Nicholls, Director of cybersecurity at UK-based cybersecurity services company, Redscan, has warned that these figures are inaccurate, since hackers have changed tactics to avoid detection, while many victims are too embarrassed to report cybercrime incidents – or simply unaware that they have been targeted.

Mark Nicholls, Director of Cybersecurity at Redscan:

isbuzz author male 1“Does anyone really believe that cybercrime is on the decline? I don’t think so. A 30 percent decrease in computer misuse offensives must be taken with a large pinch of salt, since there are inherent challenges in reporting accurate statistics in this area.

“The findings of the CSEW actually goes against a reported 4% increase in the number of computer misuse crimes referred to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau by Action Fraud.

“The CSEW reports a significant decrease in computer misuse but, when we examine the data more closely, flaws quickly start to emerge. While questions on computer misuse in the CSEW provide fuller coverage of computer misuse crimes against the household population, they do not include offences committed against businesses and other organisations. We’ve seen a string of colossal data and privacy breaches this year, most recently Facebook and British Airways. These cases will impact millions of UK citizens, even if they don’t consider themselves to be a direct victim of crime.

“We also can’t overlook the fact that, for a variety of reasons, many digital crimes go underreported. In many cases, criminal activities such as phishing are difficult to identify – people can be unaware they have been victimised. Cryptomining attacks, where criminals steal the processing power of computers to harvest cryptocurrency, are also becoming increasingly hard for people to detect.

“Another reason why cybercrime against individuals often goes undisclosed is due to personal embarrassment. How many people in the UK are the unwitting victims of attacks that they would rather not disclose – such as those claiming to release highly personal images and information. The CSEW stats are also limited by the fact that victims of online fraud, especially very elderly and vulnerable victims who may have suffered significant financial losses, may not have the confidence to allow an interviewer into their home to conduct an interview.