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The Risk of Cyber Crime – The UK Vs the USA

Throughout the combined histories of the UK and the USA, with the latter that much shorter than the former, it is safe to say that the Americans have attempted to lead the way when it comes to revolutionary acts around safety. Their stance on cyber security is no different and the UK faces falling way behind when it comes to protecting itself against online threats unless it attempts to keep up with its partner across the Atlantic. With the Americans pushing forward in their attempts to protect against attacks, security will be tightened and cyber-crime, in theory at least, directed elsewhere as a consequence.

Figures show that the cost of cyber-crime to the global economy is around £284bn every year, a combination of cyber security breaches and industrial espionage. Coming off the back of last year’s Sony scandal, and the more recent Ashley Madison affair, the USA have moved swiftly to try and combat these breaches and bring a degree of control back to proceedings. This has come in the form of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, considered another pioneering piece of legislation, as, if passed, it will force businesses who have been hacked to share the details of how, and help to improve security systems in future.

This disclosure of information is considered critical to the Americans as a way to stand against the risk of cyber-attacks. The UK is yet to consider legalising such measures, yet again behind the Americans who currently have the bill in the Senate. Cyber security is an ever increasing debate though, and with the latest Ashley Madison hack affecting hundreds of thousands of Brits, it is easy to see, regardless of the moral standpoint, why security is high on the agenda.

It is the appointment of the new Internet Safety and Security Minister, Baroness Shields that has set the ball rolling. Tasked with dealing with cyber security, she has experience of US measures and will be asked to bring those across to British shores. The current focus in UK circles is on information sharing, much as it is in the USA. The Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership has been put in place to help encourage this, though more needs to be done in terms of legislation to help encourage businesses to take part.

Some of the biggest risks to UK business are centred on financial institutions, holders of a wealth of information and, of course, British money. Internal security is the biggest issue for them, meaning that tightening legislation to do with employee security, technology awareness and their processes must be introduced to help this sector remain tight against potential criminal activity.

Cyber insurance statistics are worrying for the UK too, with 77% of medium and large American companies covered for the next 12 months, compared to just 2% of UK businesses the same size. Cyber Insurance is incredibly important and should be seen as a necessity. In digital terms it is the equivalent of a company acting without professional liability or public indemnity, crucial to a large proportion of industries. It is a must and should be factored into budgets in the same way that other insurances are, something the USA understand much better than we.