Foreign government requests for cyber-crime information up 44%

Foreign law enforcement agencies made a record 1,652 requests to the UK government for information relating to cyber-crime investigations in 2015, up 44 percent on the 1,141 requests in 2014, according to Thomson Reuters legal business, which collated the data after a Freedom of Information request.

The scale, sophistication and frequency of recent cyber-attacks in requires greater collaboration between global law enforcement agencies said a statement issued byThomson Reuters, noting that cyber-fraud or hacking is often difficult to trace and can target many different individuals and businesses at the same time, involving investigations and agencies in multiple jurisdictions.

In 2015, the estimated cost of cyber-attacks to businesses was US$ 400 billion (£305 billion)* and this is estimated to increase to US$ 2.1 trillion (£1.6 trillion) by 2019**.

Morag Rea, Head of the Practical Law, Business Crime and Investigations practice at Thomson Reuters commented in an email to SCMagazineUK.com,  “... to combat cybercrime effectively global law enforcement agencies as well as those affected by the crime itself, must work together” .

An example cited was a recent instance where an information exchange between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Interpol Digital Crime Centre (IDCC) led to the successful recovery of US$ 25 million (£19 million) which a company had been duped into sending to a bank in Hong Kong. After being alerted by the FBI, the IDCC contacted the bank's internal fraud team which froze the accounts before the money could be stolen by the criminals behind the fraud.

Law firms in particular are identified by Thomson Reuters as being at risk of a cyber-attack due to the often sensitive and highly confidential client information they hold with the recent Panama Papers breach highlighting the multitude of financial and reputational costs that can occur.

*Source: Lloyds of London

**Source: Juniper Insurance