Cybercrime Is Now Britain’s Most Common Criminal Offence

cyber crime

Inclusion of more than seven million cyber offences pushes British crime rate up 70 percent, ONS figures reveal

Crime figures across the UK have hit a new high after cybercrime and online fraud offences were included in official figures for the first time.

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

This new inclusion led the UK’s overall crime figure to jump by nearly 70 percent in the last year.


Arrest, crime © Shutterstock 2014The report from the ONS estimated that 2.5 million incidents of cybercrime, including phishing scams, malware and other attacks on electronic networks, were recorded as falling under the Computer Misuse Act, with virus attacks noted as the most common incident.

There were also 5.1 million incidents of fraud (including online and phone-based incidents), affecting 3.8 million adult victims in England and Wales in the 12 months prior to their being interviewed between May and August.

Ironically, the data showed that the total number of other offences (not including fraud and cyber crime) had actually fallen eight percent from last year.

Figures on online fraud and cybercrime as reported to the police and banks have been published by the ONS before, but have not been included in the headline figures and were not based on an estimate of the number of victims.

The inclusion of cybercrime in the national survey was hailed by security firms as an important step in getting it recognised as the incredibly serious form of crime it is.

“There’s a common misconception that cybercrime is somehow victimless – this is far from the case,” said David Kennerley, senior manager for threat research at cybersecurity firm Webroot. “Recent attacks such as Dridex, which was used to steal £20m from UK bank accounts show just how damaging they can be to all parties involved.”

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