UK firms are reacting too slowly to cyber-crime and need to polish their IT security practices and build partnerships with the police, according to the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU).
At the NHTCU's second e-Crime Congress last week, it was revealed that 80 per cent of the firms it had surveyed had suffered a hi-tech crime in 2003.
The NHTCU found web financial fraud to be the most costly cyber-crime, costing firms £121m in 2003, while the most prevalent one was virus attacks: 77 per cent had been hit, at a cost of £27.8m.
Detective Chief Superintendent Len Hynds, head of the NHTCU, said: "We've seen an increase in the ways criminals are using the internet. The industry cannot ignore this any longer."
Paul Spencer, managing director of security VAR Axial Systems, said: "Most customers feel security is something that can be swept under the carpet. Firms tend to wait until they are hit."
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