A widely-held suspicion that UK banks are covering up the true scale of cybercrime has been confirmed by the City of London Police chief Adrian Leppard, who says that up to 80% of online crime goes unreported to the authorities.
Speaking at a Tech UK conference, Leppard says that the vast gap between what is reported and the actual threat level arises "primarily because banks are happy to write off incidents as costs, thereby costing the consumer collectively and funding ongoing cyber-criminality".
The Commissioner told the audience that the scale of the threat is much greater than the public think, so much so that it may have even surpassed what drugs have delivered to the criminal economy.
He argues that the banks' unwillingness to report the true extent of cybercrime, makes it harder to gain an accurate picture of the threat to the national economy and the resources required by police to counter the criminals.
In November last year, a Treasury Select Committee hearing into cybercrime and fraud heard evidence from Dr Richard Clayton, a senior researcher in security economics at the University of Cambridge, who said that "insider" accounts of fraud losses at banks are double the numbers generally reported publicly.
This followed a July Home Affairs Committee report on e-crime that accused British banks of letting cyber-crooks carry out crime in a 'black hole' of impunity by failing to report or investigate fraud.