A bleak picture of crime in a technology-dominated future is painted in a new report for the Association of British Insurers.

Internet fraud, email abuse, hacking and viruses are among the crimes that look set to increase over the next decade, the report claims.

Unfortunately, old-fashioned crimes such as burglary will still carry on as technology within the home increases, making householders potentially more lucrative targets for thieves.

New multimedia services will be in as much demand from criminals as from other consumers, and the technology itself will become a target.

Not surprisingly, internet crimes will grow in number and cost, says the report, Future Crime Trends in the United Kingdom.

Credit card fraud will increase, by means of attacks during the transaction process itself, rather than when credit card details are travelling over the internet.

Bogus goods and services will increasingly be sold via illegal “virtual firms”, while organisations will be hit by more email abuse, viruses and hacking.

Specially tailored software will make these crimes easier to commit, but specialist “hackers for hire” will also have an impact.

Piracy and counterfeiting of such things as currency and phone cards will expand as copying technology improves.

And an increasingly borderless world could make it easier for international criminals to collaborate.

On the internet, illegal copying will become a significant problem, with music, films and games especially vulnerable, the report adds.

ABI director-general Mary Francis said: “I hope this research will help organisations identify some of their vulnerable points and encourage them to build as much protection as possible into their information systems.”

She added: “Insurance products are continually developing to meet the demands of new technology but, as ever, prevention is better than cure.”