IT security experts warned the insurance industry to be vigilant following last week's failed theft of £220m from a bank in London last week.

Computer Associates vice president of security strategy Simon Perry told Insurance Times: "The general insurance industry is at high risk.

Insurers are increasingly moving to online services and will have identity data that is valuable to organised crime."

Perry said insurers must improve their methods of customer identity authentication and monitor their back-end systems for malicious software that could record key-strokes and passwords.

The issue of cyber crime was brought into sharp focus last week after police foiled one of the largest attempted bank thefts in Britain at the Sumitomo Mitsui bank.

Computer experts are believed to have tried to transfer the money electronically after hacking into the bank's systems and downloading keystroke tracking software.