Electronic Theft Now Bigger Problem Than Physical Theft: Survey

Reported theft of information and electronic data is now a bigger crime problem than physical property losses, according to a poll by security consultancy Kroll.

More than 27% of 801 companies surveyed reported some kind of data loss, while the portion reporting physical theft fell slightly from 28% in 2009, The Financial Times said.

"This is a reflection of the changing nature of the economy. More and more of the value of a company are intangible rather than things. Firms don't make widgets. They make ideas," said Richard Plansky, head of Kroll's New York office.

China is the most problematic market for electronic fraud the Kroll survey. Ninety-eight percent of the companies doing business in China reported some kind of fraud loss. This is a major disincentive: 48% of businesses are choosing not to expand into new markets for fear of fraud.

"Fraud has been such a taboo issue in the Asian environment. People were 'Hear no evil, see no evil.' Now the post-financial crisis situation means that many more companies are looking at where the dollars went and they are discovering more fraud," said Violet Ho, head of Kroll's China operations.