The UK is losing the war on cybercrime, according to an MP group, which warned of a "black hole" where low-level cyber fraudsters manage to avoid punishment.
In the Home Affairs Committee E-crime report, committee chair Keith Vaz said the UK is too complacent about what he described as "e-wars", and said the country is a number-one target for online criminals in 25 countries, including some even in the European Union.
Vaz called for a "21st century response to [a] 21st century crime", including the establishment of an espionage response centre to which businesses and public sector institutions can report instances of e-crime.
The report called for more to be done to prevent criminals stealing small amounts of cash.
"We are very concerned that there appears to be a 'black hole' where low-level e-crime is committed with impunity," it said. "Criminals who defraud victims of a small amount of money are often not reported to or investigated by law enforcement and banks simply reimburse victims. Criminals who commit a high volume of low-level fraud can still make huge profits."
The MP group took advice from RSA boss Art Coviello (pictured) and Symantec government affairs director Ilias Chantzos, who were called as witnesses during the ten-month inquiry.
Coviello urged the government to take a more proactive approach to tackling e-crime, rather than relying on the reactive structures that are currently in place. The RSA boss also claimed that a maturing online black market saw a ten-fold reduction in the cost to access cybercrime tools and services, which in turn led to an increase in the volume and sophistication of attacks.
The report said businesses should take more time to ensure users are aware of the risks cybercrime poses to them and their firms.
"The government and the private sector both have a strong incentive to educate users and maintain awareness of cybercrime," it said. "We recommend that, through its various channels, all organisations, businesses and schools must provide users with appropriate information and risk management training."
Vaz added: "The threat of a cyberattack to the UK is so serious it is marked as a higher threat than a nuclear attack.
"You can steal more on the internet than you can by robbing a bank... If we don't have a 21st century response to this 21st century crime, we will be letting those involved in these gangs off the hook... At the moment the law enforcement response to e-criminals is fractured."
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