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Third of global firms now hit by cybercrime: Survey

Economic crime is on the rise, with cybercrime affecting almost a third of global businesses, according to the latest survey by audit firm PwC.

In the last two years, 36 percent of organizations surveyed experienced economic crime, the Global Economic Crime Survey revealed on Thursday. The most common forms of economic crime were asset misappropriation, cybercrime, and bribery or corruption.

The rate of economic crime rose in Africa, Western Europe and the Middle East, while 14 percent of total respondents said they had lost more than $1 million as a result of crime in the last two years.

Hlib Shabashnyi | Getty Images

The environment for economic crime is becoming increasingly complex as the cost of crime rises, according to Andrew Gordon, global leader of forensic services at PwC.

"Too few companies are adapting their risk assessments and control frameworks fast enough," he said in a press release.

"Action on economic crime is not the responsibility of one person or team, it must be embedded within an organizations' culture."

More worryingly, PwC found corporations are becoming less effective at dealing with crime.

"Often the response to a threat is taking more control. But our report shows that corporate control environments are 7 percent less effective in detecting and preventing economic crime than they were two years ago," said Trevor White, PwC's survey leader, in a press release.

"Tackling economic crime means a strong culture and ethics focus as well as effective monitoring and compliance programs."

Incidents of cybercrime rose to 32 percent compared to 24 percent in 2014. More than a third of organisations (34 percent) feared they would experience cybercrime in the next two years.

Security company Palo Alto Networks stressed the need for robust defences and precautions to deter criminals.

According to the company, almost 60 percent of threats can be eliminated if businesses can increase how long it takes for someone to complete an attack.

"A prevention-first attitude can slow down a cyberattacker enough for them to abandon the attack in favour of an easier target," said Greg Day, CSO of EMEA at Palo Alto Networks, in a press release.

"Ultimately, the adoption of a prevention-first mind-set will make it economically unviable for criminals to attack a business."

PwC's bi-annual survey spoke to more than 6,000 people in 115 countries across all sectors of the economy using an online questionnaire. Most of the respondents were at board level or were heads of department.

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