Threefold rise in computer crime

COMPUTER crime has increased substantially, often because employers fail to install adequate safeguards, according to an Audit Commission report published today, writes Will Bennett.

Its survey of 1,000 private and public-sector organisations reveals an increase in all types of computer abuse, including fraud, theft, hacking and the unauthorised disclosure of personal data.

There was a threefold increase in the number of incidents reported by private companies and government, local authority and health service organisations since the Commission's last report in 1990. The total value of the cases notified went up by 183 per cent.

However, the report is scathing about the lack of action by organisations to combat such a major crime growth area. It says: 'The key message from this survey is that management can reduce the risk and occurrence of computer abuse still further.'

Opportunity Makes a Thief - An Analysis of Computer Abuse; HMSO; pounds 8.50.