The scale of the cyber challenge ranges from crimes against individuals to threats to state security. The number of electronic attacks on the UK has tripled in recent years and internationally, one estimate for the scale of e-crime equates it to 1% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Cyber crime can be seen as the perpetration of age-old crimes, using new techniques. However, there are criticisms that enforcement agencies are slow to respond to the growing on-line threat.
There is considerable discussion about the need for global regulation but, while it is accepted that some type of governance is inevitable, there is no consensus as to what form it should take.
Public campaigns to raise awareness of the need for better ‘online hygiene’ could do much to reduce cyber crime. However, there are concerns that individuals are increasingly being expected to assume responsibility for the risks associated with online transactions.
Attribution in the virtual world is particularly problematic and has implications for the ways in which states respond.
The internet is estimated to be growing at 60% and governments and industry are increasingly reliant on e-commerce and on-line services. Effective partnerships will be indispensable in tackling the challenges which lie ahead.