Security breaches from computer viruses, spyware, hacker attacks and theft of equipment are costing British businesses an estimated 10 billion pounds ($18 billion) a year, according to a survey quoted by Reuters.
The report said the loss was 50% higher than the level calculated two years ago, according to a study by consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Department of Trade and Industry.
The rise came despite companies increasing their spending on information security controls to an average 4% to 5% of their IT budget from only 3% in 2004, the report said.
One area of concern for security, the study stated, was the increasing number of user IDs and passwords that employees were having to remember, the report said.
Larger companies, which tend to be more security-conscious, saw the number and cost of computer security breaches fall, but both rose at smaller firms where controls might be less rigorous, the report said.