The real numbers behind cyberhype

Politicians and the InfoSec industry has plenty to gain by ramping up the threat of cyberwar and cybercrime. But with realistic figures finally starting to emerge whether we're on the verge of a cybergeddon remains to be seen.

"The threat of a cyber attack to the UK is so serious it is marked as a higher threat than a nuclear attack," said Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, chair of the UK parliament's Home Affairs Select Committee, earlier this month. His committee's report, the result of a 10-month inquiry, paints the now-familiar, apocalyptic picture.

"We are not winning the war on online criminal activity. We are being too complacent about these E-wars because the victims are hidden in cyberspace," Vaz said. Banks suffer countless low-level frauds which are simply never reported. "Online criminals in 25 countries have chosen the UK as their number one target. Astonishingly, some are operating from EU countries." Goodness, not EU countries!

The murders of April Jones and Tia Sharp were thrown into the mix too, as were some excuses for the UK's latest internet censorship plans. "Young people are increasingly radicalised online by the words of radical clerics such as Anwar al-Awlaki on YouTube or internet magazine Inspire. What starts on the web, ends up on the streets of Woolwich."

Cyber scaremongers

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