UK businesses are expected to face an increase in cybercrimes, according to a survey by accountancy company PwC. More than 50% of the British companies are expecting to be hit by an online crime over the next two years.
Mark Anderson, global corporate intelligence leader at PwC, said: "Hackers are now more ambitious than ever. Their aim goes beyond targeting financial information to include a company's 'crown jewels' — customer data and intellectual property information, the loss of which can bring down an entire business."
The PwC economic crime survey 2016 included more than 1,000 organisations of all sizes. Of these, about 33% of the companies said they had no plan to address a cyberattack such as data theft or malware. Also, just 12% of them expressed their confidence in the police and other authorities to deal with cybercrime. "The threat of cybercrime is now a board level risk issue, but not enough UK companies treat it that way," Anderson said.
The rise in cybercrime in the country has been so high that it has caught the attention of the Metropolitan Police, which launched its own cyber fraud squad named Falcon in 2014. This squad is expected to handle the glut of online crime.
Also, the rise in such crimes has made the Office for National Statistics include cyber offences in its crime data for the first time in October 2015. According to this office, more than 5 million cybercrime incidents were detected in 2015.
According to the PwC survey, other economic crimes that businesses are subject to are asset misappropriation, procurement fraud, human resources fraud and accounting fraud among others. Of these, the survey said cybercrime was the fastest growing. While this constituted for just 20% of Britain's total economic crimes in 2014, it has since increased to 44%.
Another highlight of the survey was that more than half of the UK organisations had been subject to some sort of economic crime in the past two years. While this is an increase from the 44% reported in 2014, the numbers are much higher than the global average of 36%. While the survey was initiated in August 2015, it is unclear when the survey ended.