Latest ONS stats reveal decline in computer abuse offences in the UK

Data released by the Office for National Statistics on incidents of computer abuse for the year ending June 2017 points to a decline in such offences compared to the previous quarter.

The ONS statistics on computer abuse reveal a total of 4.6m incidents of computer abuse, hacking, and bank and credit card fraud in the past year.

The Office for National Statistics published detailed records for crimes in England and Wales for the year ending June 2017, including computer abuse offences like fraud and computer misuse, bank and credit account fraud, computer virus, and unauthorised access to personal information.

Compared to details revealed by the ONS in March, the overall incidents of computer abuse have, fortunately, registered a decline. While the total number of fraud and computer misuse offences in the year ending March 2017 was nearly 5.2 million, the same was 4.9 million in the year ending June, signalling a quarterly decline.

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Similarly, incidents of unauthorised access to personal information went down from 603,000 to 535,000 and incidents of virus injections went down from 1.19 million to 1.07 million in the same period. However, incidents of bank and credit card fraud slightly increased from 2.48 million in the year ending March to 2.51 million in the year ending June.

According to the latest statistics, over 3.86 million people in England and Wales were affected by fraud and computer misuse offences, 2 million by bank and credit card fraud, 824,000 by virus injections, and 458,000 people were directly affected by hacking and other incidents of unauthorised access to personal information.

According to Mark McClain, CEO & Co-Founder of identity company SailPoint, the decline in incidents of computer abuse indicates 'the beginning of an advantageous trend for the UK’s digital landscape'.

While viewing the decline as a result of proactive changes made by businesses to their data protection strategies, McClain added that they must continue to do the same in the future to ensure a persistent decline in cyber offences.

'Companies must take proactive steps to mitigate threats by developing a user-focused defence strategy focused on managing user identities and protecting personally identifiable information.

'This approach will ensure there is complete visibility across entire systems, making it easier to locate potential vulnerabilities and protect from the debilitating effects of data breaches and leaks,' he said.