Cyber-Crime Prevention May Prove More Costly to UK Government Coffers
Only a fraction of the estimated £640 million the UK government spends every year toward measures against cybercrime is channeled toward law enforcement, according to a cybercrime study commissioned by the UK’s Ministry of Defence and carried out by a team of Cambridge University scholars, in cooperation with German, Dutch and American scientists.
A shift of focus from surveillance and preventative actions to actually putting cybercrooks behind bars may result in a better allotment of funds, lead study author Prof. Ross Anderson, said in a comment on the report findings for the BBC.
Anderson notes that the current state of facts may be due to authorities’ misperception as to the proportions of the cybercrime phenomenon and to the number of people involved in this industry. He calls for a hands-on approach, similar to the US government’s current anti-cybercrime policy.
“In fact, a small number of gangs lie behind many incidents and locking them up would be far more effective than telling the public to fit and anti-phishing toolbar or purchase anti-virus software. Cybercrooks impose disproportionate costs on society”, added Anderson.
According to the Cabinet Office’s reaction to the report, the current government approach is believed to “strike the right balance between defending our interests and pursuing cybercriminals”. However, plans to invest an extra £650 million in training cyber-specialists across the country in the next four years point to a preference for monitoring, surveillance and other proactive protection actions.