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Business growth stunted by e-crime

Small business growth in the UK is being stunted to the tune of £785 million by e-crime according to a report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). 

The FSB say that on average each of it members lost up to £4000 to fraud and online crime and that 41% had fallen victim to online criminals in the last year. The report also highlighted that 31% of small firms would welcome a 'more effective police response' to e-crime affecting small businesses.

The FSB is worried that e-crime is becoming a barrier to growth and preventing small firms from trading online for fear or the actual risk of fraud. It is also worried that e-crime is eating away at the potential of small businesses to drive economic growth through e-commerce as small firms refuse to trade online. They cited previous research showing only a third of small firms with a website used it for sales. They also fear the impact this may have on job creation through small firms.

The main issues faced by small firms are 'virus infection' (affecting 20% of firms), 'hacking or electronic intrusions' (affecting 8%) and 'system security breach/loss of availability' (affecting 5%).

Mike Cherry, Federation for Small Businesses' National Policy Chairman, said "Cyber crime poses a real and growing threat for small firms and it isn't something that should be ignored."