More than three-quarters of digital crime comes from organised activity.
According to research by BAE Systems Detica and The John Grieve Centre, at least 80 per cent of digital crime stems from six types of organised groups, and nearly half (43 per cent) of group members are over 35 years of age.
It also found that half of the groups comprise at least six individuals, with one quarter comprising 11 or more. A quarter of the groups have been active for less than six months.
Kenny McKenzie, head of law enforcement at BAE Systems Detica, said: “Our report shows that more and more criminal activities now rely upon the online world and that a significant proportion (80 per cent) of the volume has clear associations with groups which display various levels of collective co-ordination, purpose and capacity.
“As digital crime continues to grow, increased partnership between law enforcement, technical experts and the private sector will be critical.”
The Verizon 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report, released last week, revealed that hacktivists surpassed cyber criminals as the main source of stolen records in 2011; online activists accounted for 58 per cent of the 174 million records stolen.