MPs and police chiefs called once again this week for a better system to report cyber crime, maintaining that the lack of a single contact point means that many organisations keep attacks on their systems a secret.
Janet Williams, deputy assistant commissioner at the Metroplitan Police and lead for cyber crime nationally at the Association of Chief Police Officers, argued the point during a Commons select committee hearing on malware and cyber crime.
"It is about no single point of reporting. Everybody knows where to go in the case of a burglary or a rape. I do not think there is the same level of understanding [with cyber crime]," she said.
"Also, some organisations do not choose to report, because it might be sensitive to the share price in that organisation. They may feel that they really do not want this to come into the public domain, so we lose a great deal of understanding and intelligence as a result."
Kaspersky Lab security expert Marta Janus agreed. "If you suspect that you have fallen victim to any kind of cyber crime, you should immediately contact the police, giving them any details they will find helpful in their investigation," she said.
"Unreported cyber crime allows cyber criminals to stay free and most probably continue their illegal activity, stealing more and more money and causing more and more damage to other victims. Moreover, the lack of punishment may encourage others to do the same."
In a probably not unrelated action, several cross-party MPs have tabled an early day motion for the creation of just such a body.
The motion already has 10 signatories and says that 40 per cent of cyber crime against businesses goes unreported, while 85 per cent of companies would report such crimes if there was a "sufficient and dedicated mechanism" to do so.
"This house ... calls on the government to introduce a targeted and specific mechanism for businesses and individuals to be able to report cyber crime directly to the most appropriate bodies, and to establish both a scheme of forums for businesses to express their concerns about cyber crime and the most progressive ways for businesses to protect themselves," the motion concludes.
The lack of an effective single point of contact for cyber crime reporting has been a perennial topic of debate, but there has been little movement from the government in the past.
Whether the early day motion will end up as a proper debate in the Commons is another matter, although Home Office minister James Brokenshire has already confirmed that the Action Fraud service will soon assume a cyber crime reporting role for citizens and businesses, which should meet most of the MPs' wishes.
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