How Dangerous is the Web for Your Wallet?

Dennis Faas's picture

For many of us who use the web for work and pleasure, the fact that it isn't necessarily a "safe place" is hardly surprising. But, just how dangerous is it?

According to one recent report from British Parliament, theft on the Internet is becoming a real and even rampant problem. In fact, groups referred to as "highly specialised gangs" are now engaging in an Ocean's Thirteen-like theft of online bank accounts.

This same report finds that over $33.5 million pounds, approximately $70 million US dollars, was stolen from the web homes of financial institutions, in the UK alone, last year.

Yeah, so?

The point of the intriguing analysis is to guilt the British government, banks, and software companies into action. The report argues that it is the responsibility of these institutions to protect themselves and those whose accounts and personal details are contained within their databases. (Source:

What's the plan?

Conducted by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, the examination finds that a review of bank and governmental policy of online theft can help prevent the problem from spiralling even further out of control. In addition, the legislative body of the government itself can pursue a full review and subsequent reform of lax sentences for computer-based crimes.

According to Lord Boers, chairman of the committee, "At the moment it seems that the Internet is increasingly perceived as a sort of 'Wild West', outside the law." (Source:

By no means is the problem limited to Britain. North American readers need little reminder of the "phishing" threat, whereby the web's most mischievous use imitation sites or email scams to weed out a user's log-in, password, and other critical information. Some reports placing phishing costs to American banks at an astounding $2 billion.

Conservatives in the United Kingdom are jumping on the report in hopes of making the current administration look bad. However, the problem goes much deeper than a mere election.

It's proof that we are more likely than ever to lose our money online.

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