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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Britain Overspends on Antivirus

The UK government has sponsored a study, which revealed that the country spends too much on antivirus software trying to prevent cybercrime. However, this point of view is considered too simplistic by other security experts.

According to the study conducted by the University of Cambridge, the money spent on preventing cyber attacks is out of proportion to the cost of the threat itself. The report, recognized as the first systematic estimate of the direct and indirect costs of cyber crime, says that the government should spend more on apprehending criminals instead of anticipating the events.

Earlier reports into the cost of cybercrime have been deemed wide of the mark. A Cabinet Office backed research revealed that Internet criminality is hitting the British economy to the tune of £27 billion annually. However, this figure has been disputed by industry figures.

According to the report, the Internet scams cost UK citizens on average a few pennies a day. In other words, the United Kingdom spends $1 billion on fighting threats annually, of which $170 million are spent on antivirus software. This figure differs a lot from $15 million spent on law enforcement. As such, the conclusion everyone can draw from this is to “spend less on defense and more on policing”.

However, the MPs don’t think so and call to invest more in cyber crime awareness campaigns like Get Safe Online, developed to stop online crime becoming a problem in the first place.

Security experts at Sophos believe that both prevention and policing are necessary. They point out that it is too simplistic just to stop spending on antivirus and get some cops instead of it. They think that the country needs to invest in fighting cyber crime on the legal level and protecting users’ PCs. And it’s not an “either” “or” – both of these things are needed. Everyone who goes on the Internet without antivirus software and surfs the web will undoubtedly understand soon that they need some antivirus.

Meanwhile, the experts believe that police time spent fighting cyber crime is admirable, but it’s not easy to provide immediate protections against it. In reality, such investigations may take years to collect all the evidence and bring people to justice, and in the meantime users should have to do something else to protect their PCs as well.

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