|There will be 15 billion internet connected devices in the world by 2015|
Delegates at the Worldwide Cyber Security Summit in central London were told that online fraud and hacking costs the British economy around £27bn a year.
Although the vast majority of those losses are borne by industry, individuals are also increasingly at risk from cyber criminals.
The conference, only the second worldwide summit of its kind, comes in the midst of a huge surge in digital usage.
In the UK alone, two-thirds of households are now connected to the internet.
Around the world, the number of internet connected devices is set to soar to 15 billion by 2015.
Martin Sutherland, a senior cyber security executive at BAE Systems Detica, called for a global online security standard to help tackle the sharp rise in online attacks.
Mr Sutherland said: "The idea that we have different standards across different countries means that the weakest link in the chain is the one that's going to be attacked.
"If you compare it with airline security, when you get on a plane anywhere around the world, you'll find a minimum set of security standards that you're going to go through to get on that plane."
In a recent survey carried out for BAE Systems, 94% of UK companies said they believed their IT systems were fairly, or very well protected.
Dr Greg Austin, vice president of worldwide security initiative the EastWest Institute, believes that is overly optimistic, but convincing industry to invest more heavily in IT security is, he acknowledges, far from easy
"It's like how many plane crashes are there? How many murders are there? The majority of people are never going to be affected by a plane crash or a murder," he said.