The UK government has set up a specialist unit to tackle the growing risk of cybercrime, which it said is becoming “ever more complex”, with one in three people a victim of online crime last year.
The Cyber Crime Reduction Partnership (CCRP) was unveiled by security minister James Brokenshire during a speech to the BCS, formerly the British Computer Society and the UK’s chartered institute for information technology. The partnership will bring together police, security experts and academics in an effort to tackle the threat of organised online criminals.
The UK minister warned that businesses and the public often fell into a trap of regarding cybercrime as the stuff of science fiction, but this patently isn’t the case. “For too long the public's perception of cybercrime has been lone bedroom hackers stealing money from a bank account,” he said. “But the reality is that cyber criminals are organised and global, with a new breed of criminals selling ‘off-the-shelf’ software to aid gangs in exploiting the public.”
Brokenshire also urged companies to overcome their reluctance to report incidents, for fear that doing so exposes their vulnerability to attacks.
“The internet should be a source of tremendous economic and cultural growth for the UK. Cyber security should be an important part of that growth,” he said. “Businesses that take cyber security seriously can gain commercial advantages from doing so. The UK can export expertise through the growth of a vibrant UK security industry.”
Brokenshire added that the CCRP had actually been set up in shadow form at the start of the month and had already made 19 arrests and confiscated around £500,000 in assets. It will form part of the UK’s much-delayed new national crime agency when it is fully operating.
The extent of the cyber security threat, which is sometimes state-sponsored at the higher levels, was recently exposed by the Mandiant report that identified a unit of China’s military dedicated to hacking company data, not to mention the hack attack against the Reserve Bank of Australia. Consumers themselves can face a similar level of sophistication as criminal gangs take over from keen amateurs in fraud attempts.