The UK needs to take the ‘e’ out of e-crime

Are politicians, police and industry really taking the threat of cyber criminals seriously, or does confusion reign?

Handcuffs

There is a real lack of understanding from politicians, police and the public about cyber crime, which is in danger of being treated less seriously than traditional' crime.

That's the conclusion made today at the Infosecurity 2009 show by a select panel of figures from the political, policing and security worlds who gathered together to discuss the British response to e-crime.

Shadow Crime Reduction Minister James Brokenshire said that there were very few politicians focused on the threat of e-crime, and quoted a police officer that claimed that they did not have a sense of fear' about it.

He said: "This is quite surprising when you consider the amount of threat that is out there and the problems that are facing us."

However, he did say that things were slowly changing on a wider scale, such as President Obama launching a cyber security strategy. In the UK, there is also the work of the newly formed Police Central e-Crime unit.

Brokenshire added: "There are things that the government does need to do in terms of protecting citizens, ensuring that we have the building blocks in place for law enforcement."

Howard Schmidt, president of the Information Security Forum, commented that businesses often did not report crimes to the police because it was able to "write off" the losses as "acceptable", which made the job of cyber criminals much easier.

He said: "Criminals would rather steal one pound from a million people then go after the big [crime], which makes them more successful and gives law enforcement a difficult task."

Mike Humphrey, head of information assurance and accreditation at the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), made the point that staff needed to be educated by industry to be more aware of the vulnerabilities and the adverse consequences.

He said: "They are less likely to be compromised at home and be tempted to sell some of your information."

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