Australian Institute of Criminology

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The costs of high tech crime

Crime facts info no. 134

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, October 2006

Recent studies and surveys have identified that financially motivated technology enabled crime cases are of considerable concern to business and industry. A survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (2006) on behalf of the UK Department of Trade and Industry reported that information security breaches cost UK companies across several industry sectors 10 billion per annum. The independent 2006 AusCERT (2006) survey also raises similar concerns. Based on a relatively small number of public and private organisations in Australia, survey results over the four years indicated that computer facilitated financial fraud, laptop theft, and infections from viruses and worms are seen as the major sources of financial losses. In the 2006 survey, although infections from viruses and worms were the most common form of electronic attack reported, the financial loss attributed to laptop theft was higher than that attributed to infections from viruses and worms. The chart below shows the costs attributed to these three types of offences over the four years.

Financial losses from high tech crime, 2003–2006

2006: 389 organisations, 2005: 181 organisations, 2004: 240 organisations, 2003: 214 organisations

Source: AusCERT 2006: 26