Governments are wasting time and money on antivirus technology when they should be focusing on policing the Internet, according to a new study from the University of Cambridge.

According to the study, the cost of protection far exceeds the cost of the threat itself, a CBR article says.

The report claims that the UK spends around $1 billion each year on cybersecurity. Out of that, $170 million goes to antivirus, and $15 million goes to cyber policing, the article says.

Essentially the report states that a better use of money would be tacking down cyber criminals, the article says. The cost of what the report calls "true cybercrime" – new scams that completely depend on the Internet – amounts to just "tens of pence per year directly." Indirect costs, such as the money spent on antivirus, can be a hundred times that, according to the report.

Professor Ross Anderson, the author of the report, says that some police forces believe the hacking and cybercrime problem is too big to handle. However, only a small number of gangs are responsible for many incidents. “Locking them up would be far more effective than telling the public to fit an anti-phishing toolbar or purchase antivirus software,” he said.

“Cybercrooks impose disproportionate costs on society and we have to become more efficient at fighting cybercrime,” Anderson added in the article.

According to BBC, the Cabinet Office welcomed the report, and a spokesperson added that the government has already earmarked £650 million (more than $1 billion) over four years as part of a new National Cyber Security Programme (NCSP) to strengthen UK cybersecurity.