UK loses £27 billion to cybercrime each year

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New research by SEON has found that the UK is the third most affected country by online crime in the world. According to their new data, the UK loses a massive £27 billion to cybercrime each and every year.

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The shocking data only serves to emphasise how important it is that individual users and companies in the UK take all the recommended precautions to protect themselves from cybercrime.

Countries most affected by cyber-crime

The new research by SEON has identified the top ten countries as identified by the Internet Crime Complaints Center and looked at the cost of internet crime in each country.

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The nation worst affected by internet crime is China. This data shows that China loses around ¥800B, the equivalent of US$118.4 billion, each year to cybercrime.

They are way ahead of the rest of the world, although that might not be a huge surprise given both the huge population of China and the fact that a large majority of global cybercrime originates inside China.

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Indeed, the SEON research notes that the Chinese Communist Party’s Ministry of Public Security reported that in 2021 alone, Chinese police handled a whopping 62,000 cases of cybercrime.

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Given that the regime is hardly robust in clamping down on cybercrime targeted at overseas users, these numbers are massive.

The next worst affected country is Germany, which loses the equivalent of US$43.2bn each year. It is a massive problem there, with a survey by the German digital industry association revealing that small and medium-sized companies are especially vulnerable to cyber-attacks in Germany.

The UK’s £27bn amounts to US$32.9bn, significantly lower than Germany, but still a substantial sum of money. SEON also notes that the data they used for the UK was from statistics released in 2011.

This is more than a decade ago, and it seems fair to assume that, given the increase in cybercrime globally, the number is not considerably larger. It may be as much as, or perhaps even surpass, Germany.

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They also cite information technology consulting company Detica which has researched the impact of cybercrime in the UK in some detail and noted that, in the UK, businesses particularly suffer from IP theft and industrial espionage.

The other countries making up the top ten are Australia (US$23bn), Brazil (US$22.5bn), India (US$15.7bn), the Netherlands (US$10.2bn), Mexico (US$7.7bn), and France (US$7.1bn).

Interestingly the United States only comes in tenth place on the list, with losses of US$6.9bn overall, although this seems somewhat questionable.

Cybercrime on the rise

As well as countries impacted by cybercrime, the SEON data also looked at more general cyber trends.

In 2021, it was found that there was a 65% increase in online transactions. However, over the same period, online fraud rose far faster. According to SEON, there was a spike of 233% in 2021.

Alongside climate change, they also report that cyber incidents are now considered to be the biggest risks for businesses around the world.

They are not the first to reach that conclusion, and it is as true for individuals today as it is for businesses.

But it’s all very well catastrophising about the rise in cybercrime. What’s far more important is helping people to counteract this growing risk.

Knowledge and awareness of the risks of going online, both in terms of privacy and security, are also on the rise, at the same time as a growing number of tools emerge to help people stay safe online.

A VPN is an essential part of the online security toolkit of both individuals and companies.

When you use a VPN, all of your online data is protected by encryption meaning everything you do online is hidden and secure.

VPNs will also hide your real IP Address, which allows you to use the internet semi-anonymously. It is highly advisable to use a VPN when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, especially as these can be especially vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

VPNs alone will not protect you from every cyber security threat. You are well advised to use separate anti-virus and anti-malware software, although some VPNs will come bundled together with other software that can help with this too.

It is also important to remember that cybercrime is not a problem that only affects desktop and laptop devices. It is important to protect all of your devices which means choosing a VPN that has apps for all the devices you use and other security apps.

SEON’s new data should not be a cause for widespread alarm. But it should serve as a reminder to take the necessary steps to protect your online security. And we would strongly advise you to ensure that a VPN is part of your cyber-security toolkit.



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