A study carried out by computer scientists at the University of Cambridge says the government needs to spend more money on policing the Internet and less on anti-virus software.
The report showed that the UK is spending almost £640 million a year on internet security, but less than £10 million of that total is being used on cybercrime law enforcement. Working with colleagues throughout Europe and the US, the Cambridge team also found that consumers in countries including the Netherlands, Finland and Ireland enjoyed stronger protection than their British counterparts.
In perhaps an admission of the UK's poor record with online security, the study was instigated by the Ministry of Defence who approached the university for help. Professor Ross Anderson, who led the research that covered the most common manifestations of online fraud, said, "Cybercrime has created a swamp. You need to drain the swamp by arresting people.
"Some police forces believe the problem is too large to tackle. In fact, a small number of gangs lie behind many incidents and locking them up would be far more effective than telling the public to fit an anti-phishing toolbar or purchase anti-virus software. Cybercrooks impose disproportionate costs on society."
Professor Anderson added that the US Government, and the FBI in particular, carry out most of the "heavy-lifting" when dealing with cybercrime. Recent comments from Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano support the notion that the White House takes online threats seriously, after she said cybercriminals were now posing a greater danger to national security than the ‘physical' actions of foes like Al Qaeda.
But does the British Government do enough to protect us online? Should we be seeing more arrests on cybercriminals, and less of the same old security advice? Let us know your thoughts below.