Original article by Patrick Scott, Data Journalist for The Telegraph
Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a new five-year £1.9 billion scheme to help prevent cyber-crime in the UK.
The National Cyber Security Strategy is to be used to develop a strategy for tackling hackers and the problems they pose to national security as well as to the public individually.
In his introduction to the new strategy, Mr Hammond writes: "From the most basic cyber hygiene, to the most sophisticated deterrence, we need a comprehensive response.
"We will focus on raising the cost of mounting an attack against anyone in the UK, both through stronger defences and better cyber skills. This is no longer just an issue for the IT department but for the whole workforce. Cyber skills need to reach into every profession."
How big of a problem is cyber-crime in the UK?
Cyber-crime has risen in prominence in recent years and is no longer the stuff of spy novels. However, the full extent of it in the UK is still difficult to gauge.
The Office for National Statistics has recently begun asking people about their experiences of fraud and online crime in its Crime Survey of England and Wales.
From these responses the ONS was able to estimate that there were 5.6 million fraud and computer misuse crimes in the 12 months up to the end of June 2016.
To put this into context, the total number of crimes recorded in the rest of the survey stood at 6.5 million over the same period, meaning that the number of crimes measured by the survey has nearly doubled with the addition of these new questions.
Out of these 5.6 million fraud and computer misuse offences more than two thirds were specifically labelled as being examples of cyber-crime. This means they involved the internet or online activity.
What happens to crime figures when you include fraud and computer misuse?
This would mean that there were 3.8 million instances of cyber-crime in the 12 months to June 2016.
The figures show that bank account fraud, for example Phishing, was the most common type of online crime with 2.4 million instances in the year to June.
As many as 708,000 people lost money in fraud cases last year while there were 487,000 instances in which people lost money due to hacking or computer viruses.
Of the people who lost money due to fraud, more than a quarter lost in excess of £500 and 15.4 per cent of them lost in excess of £1,000.
Despite the scale of cyber-crime apparently being vast, victims were unlikely to actually report incidents to the authorities. Only 13.2 per cent of cases were referred to police forces or Action Fraud, the new body policing fraud across the UK.
While the ONS is still labelling their cyber-crime figures as being experimental and has yet to incorporate them into the rest of the crime survey, it seems that these types of offences are very prevalent in the UK.