[ISN] New (UK) force to tackle cybercrime

From: Richard Bartlett (richardat_private)
Date: Wed Apr 18 2001 - 00:34:57 PDT

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    A specialist police unit designed to tackle computer-based crime is
    being launched by the Home Secretary Jack Straw on Wednesday.
    The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHCTU) will be responsible for
    tracking down the growing range of criminals who operate in
    They include organised criminal gangs who use computers to commit
    fraud, paedophiles who exchange obscene images on the
    net, and hackers who wreak havoc by writing computer viruses which can
    disable systems worldwide.
    The unit will initially employ 40 specially-trained officers who will
    operate from a secret location in London.
    Netting criminals
    Mr Straw said: "New technologies bring enormous benefits to the
    legitimate user, but also offer opportunities for
    criminals, from those involved in financial fraud to paedophiles.
    "We are determined that the UK will be the best and safest place in
    the world to conduct and engage in e-commerce, and that
    our children receive the full protection they deserve online so they
    can surf the net in safety."
    As the unit expands, every constabulary in the UK is expected to be
    given at least one "cyber cop" to tackle internet crime
    in its area.
    Computer crimes are becoming more and more sophisticated
    The 25m unit will draw its staff from individual police forces,
    Customs, the National Crime Squad and the National
    Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS).
    The squad is expected to deploy undercover officers in internet chat
    rooms in an effort to trap paedophiles.
    But civil liberties groups are worried about the extent of the unit's
    They believe the police will also be able to intercept private e-mails
    of innocent people without proper authority.
    But the unit's Detective Chief Superintendent Len Hynds told BBC News:
    "We have no inclination, nor the desire, nor the ability to trawl
    people's e-mails.
    "We will be targeting those people who use the internet to commit
    fraud, paedophilia and other offences."
    Rising crime
    Cybercrime is now seen as one of the fastest growing criminal
    More than 60% of Britain's online businesses have been the victims of
    hacking, according to estimates.
    Director general of the National Crime Squad, Bill Hughes, said:
    "Looking to the future the equation is simple - money is
    going electronic and where money goes so will organised crime.
    "As we have learnt from our colleagues in the USA, the only way to
    tackle this type of crime is by using a joined-up
    Other internet crimes are aimed at causing maximum disruption.
    Last May a computer virus called the Love Bug was released by a lone
    computer user in the Philippines.
    The virus spread by e-mail to affect hundreds of thousands of
    businesses and personal computers across the world. The US
    Government was among those hit.
    Companies fight back
    In January some of the biggest names in the global computer industry
    joined forces to combat the rising tide of cybercrime.
    Companies which include IBM, Intel, AT&T, Microsoft set up a worldwide
    early warning system to share information about
    vulnerabilities in software and data, the activities of malicious
    hackers and people planning computer crimes.
    The alliance, which also includes the FBI and US Government, plans to
    set up a series of centres around the world to
    collate information and distribute it to members.
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