£4.3m funding to tackle cybercrime neglects PCeU

Government funding of £4.3 million is supporting a programme to combat
online fraud, despite the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) being
funded for only one more year. The new programme, which will crack down
on fraudsters, criminals and rogue traders who use the Internet and
email to con consumers, was launched by the Department for Business,
Innovation and Skills last week.

Feb 25, 2010
By Paul Jacques

Government funding of £4.3 million is supporting a programme to combat online fraud, despite the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) being funded for only one more year. The new programme, which will crack down on fraudsters, criminals and rogue traders who use the Internet and email to con consumers, was launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills last week.

Under the scheme, up to 300 of the UK’s approximately 3,000 existing Trading Standards officers will receive ‘intermediate’ level training in tackling cybercrime.

In addition, a new cyber enforcement team within the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) will be set up. The team will lead investigations into websites selling fake or non-existent goods, tickets or services online, and will have an attached digital forensics lab that will be available to all OFT staff.

The PCeU will continue to lead investigations into the UK’s most serious e-crime incidents and to help train local police forces to tackle cybercrime, until funding runs out in March 2011.

How responsibilities will be split between the new OFT unit and the UK’s various existing cybercrime-fighting bodies – such as the PCeU, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and the Action Fraud reporting hotline and website – is still being decided.

A spokesman for the PCeU said: “We will work with the OFT, Trading Standards and other partners, to ensure clear lines of intelligence sharing and operational activity are agreed and that the PCeU’s previous learning and engagement is shared.”

John Peerless, project manager for the Trading Standards regional fraud unit in the South East, said there will not be any overlap or confusion between the responsibilities of anti-cybercrime bodies, saying that the OFT, PCeU and Trading Standards officers will focus on different aspects of online fraud.

He added that PCeU will continue investigating serious national frauds, such as its operation to shut down more than 100 websites illegally selling tickets to Premier League and Football Association matches last year.

The OFT will be focused on ‘sector-wide’ online scams, such as websites offering fake learning courses and degrees in return for payment. Trading Standards officers will concentrate on individual instances of people being conned by online traders, and on advising consumers on how to spot scam websites and retailers.

Each year, scams cost three million UK consumers around £3.5 billion and recent research from the OFT shows that email is now the most common scam – 73 per cent of adults have received a scam email in the past year.

The rapid evolution of Web 2.0 services and the parallel world of cybercrime is also driving a revolution in the price that criminals charge each other for user credentials, according to Imperva, the data security specialist.

The price of a file of user credentials – known as a ‘dump’ in hacking circles – depends greatly on the Internet service(s) where they can be used, says Amichai Shulman, the firm’s chief technology officer.

“Just five years ago, the illegal trade in credit card details was a rising problem for the financial services industry, as well as their customers, with platinum and corporate cards being highly prized by the fraudsters,” he said. “Today, however, there are reports of Twitter credentials changing hands for up to $1,000 owing to the revenue generation that is possible from a Web 2.0 services account. Twitter accounts are valuable to criminals and they will use almost any technique to harvest user credentials, including targeted phishing attacks. Once a fraudster gains access to a Twitter account, they can misuse it in a variety of ways to further their fraudulent activities.”

SOCA welcomes report on domain name abuse

A report highlighting how few people enter full, accurate details when registering a domain has been highlighted in a new report welcomed this week by the Serious Orga

Related News

Select Vacancies

Copyright © 2022 Police Professional