Prague - Almost a half of companies in the Czech Republic (48 percent) have become victims of economic crime in the past two years, a growth from 29 percent of businesses in 2011, according to data in the latest biennial global economic crime survey conducted by company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Companies in the world as well as in the Czech Republic are being increasingly often attacked by fraudsters via the Internet. The number of firms that became victims to cybercrime in the Czech Republic has doubled in the past two years.
However, the most frequent type of economic crime in the Czech Republic is theft or embezzlement of a company's property by its employees which accounts for 80 percent of cases of the crime. Worldwide, theft and embezzlement make up only 69 percent of cases on average.
Cybercrime accounts for 31 cases and is the second most frequent type of economic crime in the Czech Republic.
This type of criminal activity recorded a growing trend in the past two years as in 2012 it made up only 13 percent of criminal behaviour and was the fourth most common type of economic crime,
The third most frequent type of crime is fraud during the purchasing process which is becoming the new focus for perpetrators of economic crime not only in the Czech Republic.
"Cybercrime is dangerous also because the damaged companies may not detect the ongoing assaults at all. It is therefore likely that its real occurrence is much higher than the extent which companies report," said Filip Volavka, an expert on cybercrime at PwC.
"At the beginning of the millennium we advised companies to prepare for a hacker attack, but now we recommend them to presume that such an attack has already been made," Volavka said.
The reason behind the growth of cybercrime is the increasing use of the potential of modern technologies, according to Volavka.
"Almost each company uses web applications and has a remote access to its information systems. Besides, an increasing number of companies use the cloud. But not in all companies the speed of technological progress is accompanied by corresponding security measures," Volavka said.
Michal Kohoutek, director of forensic services at PwC, said that every second company which fell victim to fraud in the past two years suffered damage of at least Kc2m.
"Damage in 15 percent of companies even exceeded Kc100m. Besides, non-financial damage in the form of a company's tarnished reputation or the negative impact on employees' morals must be added to this," Kohoutek said.
Perpetrators of economic crime in the Czech Republic are most often persons outside a company (51 percent). Still in 2012, fraudsters were most often employees who now account for 49 percent of crime.
A typical fraudster among employees is a man aged between 31 to 40 years who has worked in a company for three to five years. Outside a company, most perpetrators are among sales representatives and intermediaries (22 percent), followed by customers and suppliers.
A total of 5,128 respondents from 99 countries took part in the PwC survey which had the form of an online questionnaire.
A half of the respondents were senior executives, 35 percent of the respondents were employees from listed companies and 54 percent of the respondents were from companies with over 1,000 staff.