The economic slowdown is adding to a boom in cybercrime because computer-literate criminals in developing countries are increasingly trying their hands at electronic scams, according to British researchers.
The study by The University of Brighton team also found that the growth of social networking websites were offering cybercriminals with fresh areas to exploit as well as new areas for recruitment.
AdvertisementLed by Professor Howard Rush, the researchers said that detection and prevention had been boosted, but continuous data breaches, mainly due to human error, were exposing personal information on a large scale.
They also said that the UK needed urgent action to crack down on cybercrime to avert what they said was the potential for "international embarrassment" ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.
Rush said that the growth in credit card fraud and identity theft was due to communications technology reaching parts of the world, where many unemployed people with IT skills lived.
"Criminals there can take advantage of cybercrime opportunities, and the current global recession will likely increase this trend still further," the Telegraph quoted Rush as saying.
And they warned that the capabilities of cybercriminals, especially without a global counter-strategy, will likely increase in the future.
The report stated: "Law enforcement agencies are struggling to respond, especially in places where legislative frameworks are weak or non-existent."
"The growth of cybercrime in Russia, India, China and Brazil is of particular concern.
"As cyberspace develops further, so new opportunities will open up for organised crime groups. Crimes such as electronic theft and fraud will occur more rapidly, reducing the likelihood of offenders being caught in the act.
"Information about how to compromise a system will be available more quickly and to more people, which means that opportunistic criminals linked into networks of organised criminals will come to dominate and define the world of cybercrime.
"The ability of criminals to use new technology will also have a major impact on the sort of crime we see. In cyberspace, we can expect this to be further magnified," it added.
However, the researchers urged a plan of action, saying: "Given that so many cybercrime operations take place in developing countries, aid agencies need to be persuaded to build on their policy reform work to help address cybercrime."