UK 'losing war against cyber crime'
The UK is losing the war against internet crime, an influential group of MPs has warned
Despite being the preferred target of online criminals in 25 countries, the UK is still "complacent" towards e-crime as victims are "hidden in cyberspace", the Home Affairs Select Committee said.
The group of MPs said sufficient funding and resources for tackling online crime, which includes identity theft, industrial espionage, credit card fraud and child exploitation, has not been allocated.
Tougher sentences for online criminals and improved training for police officers are recommended by the committee to deal with the growing threat of cyber criminality.
Committee chair Keith Vaz MP said: "We are not winning the war on online criminal activity. We are being too complacent about these E-wars because the victims are hidden in cyberspace. The threat of a cyber attack 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 and online criminals in 25 countries have chosen the UK as their number one target. Astonishingly, some are operating from EU countries. 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."
The group of MPs also called for a service similar to anti-online child abuse group Internet Watch Foundation to be formed for tackling the spread of terrorist material online.
Internet-based crime - committed by lone hackers, activist groups and nation states sponsoring industrial espionage - has been estimated by online security firm Norton to globally cost around 388 billion US dollars (£250 billion) in financial losses.
The committee heard that the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau had discovered about 25 countries predominantly targeting the UK and it was "deeply concerned" that EU partner countries are not doing enough to prevent cyber attacks from criminals on the UK.
In light of the rise of e-crime, the group of MPs recommended that more police officers are trained in digital crime detection and equipped with digital forensic skills. But as improved awareness among internet users could help tackle e-crime, the committee also wants the Government and the private sector to educate users and maintain awareness of the threat.