01:51 PM

British Government Bolsters Anti-Cybercrime Measures

Amidst a bewildering array of new teams and initiatives is a plan to more effectively fight cybercrime in the U.K.

The British state is introducing a new initiative to fight organized online crime: Cyber Crime Reduction Partnership (CCRP). The program will provide a new forum in which U.K. law enforcement, the computer industry and academia can regularly come together to tackle cybercrime more effectively.

Security Minister at the Home Office James Brokenshire, who is responsible for U.K. national security and counter-terrorism policy, announced the move at a cybersecurity briefing hosted by the British Computer Society/The Chartered Institute for IT.

"'For too long the public's perception of cybercrime has been a lone bedroom hacker stealing money from a bank account," said Brokenshire, "but the reality is that cybercriminals are organized and global, with a new breed of criminals selling 'off-the-shelf' software to aid gangs in exploiting the public."

Thus the partnership, to be jointly led by Brokenshire and fellow minister David Willetts, who heads the country's Universities and Science department. Their focus will be to help "ensure police and other law enforcement agencies can stay one step ahead of online criminals."

[ Is the role of government CIO unnecessary? The British state thinks so. Read U.K. Government: Who Needs A CIO? ]

The U.K. government already has a plethora of such programs -- and certainly the CCRP won't be the last. For example, in its first year of operation, London's Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit reportedly prevented an estimated £538 million ($813 million) of "harm" to the public by organized e-criminals.

That police unit is part of the Cyber Security Strategy, which in turn is part of a £650 million ($982 million) project set up in the 2010 Strategic Defense and Security Review meant to strengthen the U.K.'s cyber capacity by 2014.

According to Brokenshire, the CCRP will soon be joined by several additional initiatives: a Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership to better share information between industry and government; a National Computer Emergency Response Team; and a National Cyber Crime Unit within the NCA (National Crime Agency), which will merge that e-Crime Unit with the Serious Organised Crime Agency's Unit Cyber wing.

According to Brokenshire, the intent of this multitude of cybersecurity initiatives is to deepen the country's ability to combat cybercrime. "I am confident we can bring these criminals to justice," he said. "Through greater awareness and action from the public and industry and through continuing to work closely with our international partners, we can deliver a lasting and transformative impact on those criminals that seek to use the economy to harm the U.K. and its interests."

Easily overlooked vulnerabilities could put your data and business at risk. Also in the new, all-digital 10 Web Threats special issue of Dark Reading: How hackers compromised an iOS developers' website to exploit Java plug-in vulnerabilities and attack Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter. (Free with registration.)

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