Figures that Home Office ministers were forced to release last month show an average of one conviction under the Computer Misuse Act every month for the past 23 years
Just one computer hacker a month is being brought to justice despite 100,000 crimes being committed every year, the Sunday People can reveal.
Experts warn that police are failing to tackle the staggering rise in online crime in the UK, including online stalking and theft of personal data.
New figures revealing the true number of offences only came to light when Home Office ministers were forced to divulge the information last month.
On average just one person was convicted of an offence under the Computer Misuse Act every month for the past 23 years.
Campaigners from the Digital Trust, which supports victims of online abuse, said police do not know how to cope with the problem.
Criminal justice expert Harry Fletcher, who is a director of the Digital Trust, said: “The police still concentrate their resources on traditional offences offline, when most people are more likely to be mugged online than in the street.
“The law needs to change. It should, for example, be an offence to use any technological device to locate, listen to or watch a person without legitimate purpose.
“In addition, restrictions should be placed on the sale of spyware without lawful reasons. It should also be against the law to install a webcam or any other form or surveillance device without the target’s knowledge.”
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau showed that for the UK as a whole, more than £670m was lost to the ten most common online frauds between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014.
Government does not know the actual loss to both business and people because cybercrime is vastly under-reported.The FBI says it is now more lucrative than drug trafficking worldwide.
But between 1990 to 2006 only 183 defendants were proceeded against and 134 found guilty under the Computer Misuse Act. Over this period there were five years when there were no prosecutions, and a further ten with fewer than 20.
A parliamentary answer to Elfyn Llwyd MP showed that from 2007 to 2013 there were 156 prosecutions with 128 leading to a finding of guilt which is only 1.5 per month.