News

UK faces potent cybercrime cocktail, warns government

Ian Grant

Britain faces "a potent cocktail of crimes enabled by technology", particularly identity fraud, the government has warned.

Much of the cybercrime targeting UK organisations comes from overseas crime groups, according to a new strategy document for tackling serious organised crime. There is also growing evidence that states are sponsoring criminal gangs to make cyberattacks, it said.

"Organised criminals are able to obtain and exchange false identities and to use other people's identities illegitimately," said the document. "Identity fraud has become one of the key enablers of other types of fraud.

"It allows organised criminals to acquire goods and services fraudulently on an industrial scale. And it helps to put them beyond the reach of enforcement agencies."

The use of malicious software to attack individuals, business and government, increased by 250% in 2008, it said.

The report quoted Apacs, the payment industry association, saying that the value of phone, internet and mail order fraud had risen 117% between 2004 and 2008.

Online bank fraud was worth more than £52m last year, and online fraud and other crime cost small businesses on average £800 each a year, it said.

The government created the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) to set up off-shore alliances to tackle foreign crime gangs.

Last year it set up the Police Central E-Crime Unit to coordinate the national police response to e-crime, and last month it set out a new cyber security strategy that will use "white hat" hacker teams to attack cybercriminals.


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