ONS Figures Show UK Cybercrime Doubled In Past Year

The latest Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW) from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that nearly six million fraud and cybercrime offences are being committed a year.

The report estimated a total of 5.8 million fraud and computer misuse offences took place in the past year in England and Wales. Of those 5.8 million incidents, 3.8 million were fraud incidents, whilst 2 million were computer misuse incidents.

This is much higher than the previous ONS data last October, which placed the annual figure at 3.8m, or 40 percent of all crimes.


Of these 2 million computer misuse incidents, two thirds (68 percent; 1.4 million incidents) were virus related, and around one-third (32 percent; 0.6 million incidents) were related to unauthorised access to personal information (including hacking).

“This is the first time we have published official estimates of fraud and computer misuse from our victimisation survey, and ONS is leading the world in doing this,” said John Flatley, Crime Statistics and Analysis at the ONS.

“Together, these offences are similar in magnitude to the existing headline figures covering all other Crime Survey offences. However, it would be wrong to conclude that actual crime levels have doubled, since the survey previously did not cover these offences. These improvements to the Crime Survey will help to measure the scale of the threat from these crimes, and help shape the response.”

The ONS estimates suggest therefore that one in 10 adults was a victim of at least one fraud or computer misuse offence in the last year.

Fraud is the most common crime experienced by adults in the United Kingdom.

Cybercrime Threat

Cybercrime of course remains a real threat to many people and businesses.

Indeed, earlier this year, PwC’s Global Economic Crime Survey revealed that cybercrime attacks against UK businesses had grown so rapidly in recent years that Britain now leads most of the world in terms of reported incidents.

That report found cybercrime had seen the fastest growth rate of any type of economic crime, and that nearly half (44 percent) of British businesses that had suffered economic crime over the last two years were affected by cyber incidents, a 20 percent increase from 2014.

A survey by Deloitte last year suggested a fifth of consumers have been the victim of cybercrime in 2015. It found that twenty-one percent of respondents claimed they have had personal details stolen and their bank accounts used to buy goods and services as a result of a cyber security breach.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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