The Great Cyber Surrender: How police and governments abandon cybercrime victims

In the most comprehensive transatlantic study of its kind, we find that the approach of both police and policymakers to tackling cybercrime is so inadequate that it is tantamount to surrender. On both sides of the Atlantic, we find no systematic attempt to combat cyber fraud at scale.

This report, made possible by Clario, is an urgent call to arms. We’re calling for an immediate and comprehensive overhaul of national and international responses to this enormous and evolving threat, as well as more support for victims and greater resources for law enforcement to develop the technical skills needed to fight cybercrime on the front line.

The report finds that:

  • One in five Britons and one in three Americans have been victims of cybercrime. 21% of Britons and 35% of Americans say they have had their data accessed illegally, equating to 11 million people in the UK and 115 million people in the US.
  • Only one in four Britons (27%) and four in ten Americans (40%) who were victimised online reported the crime to the government or the police. One in three Britons (33%) and Americans (34%) aren’t confident that they would know what to do if they became a victim of online fraud.
  • People are aware that there are dangers, but are not protecting themselves in practice. The majority of Britons and Americans alike are worried about their data being accessed illegally (58% of Britons, 64% of Americans), but are not investing in protecting themselves from hackers.
  • Cybercriminals are agile and innovative, leaving law enforcement struggling to keep up.
  • Law enforcement and victim support for cybercrime are woefully inadequate in both the UK and the US.

The Great Cyber Surrender makes ten recommendations to fix the broken system, seeking to prevent and tackle cybercrime, and deal with its repercussions. Recommendations for both the UK and US governments include:

  • Establish and promote a National Reporting Hotline for fraud and cybercrime, with a simple three-digit number, e.g. ‘119 for Cybercrime.’
  • Establish a National Fraud Taskforce, staffed with specialist investigators, with responsibility for investigating cybercrime cases.
  • Roll out Victim Care Squads nationally, staffed with specialist advocates, to provide support and advice to victims of cybercrime.

Read the full report here.