McAfee has warned that cybercriminals are capitalising on a climate of consumer fear and anxiety in the recession.


As economic problems sweep the globe and divert political attention away from security, cyber security is deemed to be not enough of a priority for real headway to be made against the perpetrators of online crime.


McAfee has warned that unless significant resources are committed to international efforts to fight malicious cyber activity, there is a risk that cybercrime will impact consumer confidence, further hindering the speed of global recovery in 2009.


Dave DeWalt, CEO and president of McAfee, said: “Cybercriminals are exploiting the global recession by luring in susceptible victims through the promise of easy money. While governments and law enforcement bodies' attentions are diverted by the current economic crisis, the door is left open for cybercrimimals to continue to target bank balances worldwide and to potentially damage the consumer trust needed to aid rapid recovery.


“Governments need to commit to funding the resources needed to combat cybercrime; bureaucratic bodies need to be rationalised and harmonised and police forces need to be coordinated across boundaries. Everyone must play their part in a global battle that has only just begun and will continue long into 2009 and beyond if it's not properly addressed.”


Mike Davies, European director of identity and authentication services for VeriSign, said: “This report is proof that the current economic climate can affect many parts of our lives, both off- and on-line."