Police e-crime unit breaks up criminal gang


Police e-crime unit breaks up criminal gang

warwick ashford

The police agency that fights e-crime in the UK has prevented the loss of millions of pounds by breaking up a group trading in stolen bank, credit card and identity information.

The second annual report on development and effectiveness of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) said operation Anjowan had led to the arrest and conviction of UK citizens using complex and sophisticated methods to harvest and trade the personal details online.

The potential loss to the UK finance sector from the actions of just one of the conspirators was assessed at more than £6m, the report said.

Anjowan was one of several e-crime related operations highlighted by the report.

In another operation, the report said Soca had prevented the loss of more than £10m by arresting members of a gang that was using an advanced Trojan virus to harvest personal financial data remotely.

Soca has rejected as "unfair" criticism that e-crime appears to be a low priority for the agency.

A spokesman said the number of people dedicated to fighting e-crime in the UK had actually increased since being taken over by the agency crime from the National High Tech Crime Unit even though it was not one of Soca's key focus areas.

He said in terms of government legislation, Soca was formed to focus on drug trafficking, fraud, immigration crime and gun crime.

However, by being part of an organisation that had a much wider remit, he said the 58-member e-crime unit was able to draw on the skills and support of the whole unit, such as the relationships with 140 liaison officers in 40 countries around the world.

Other projects highlighted in the report include Elegia aimed at identifying compromised financial and identity data being traded by online criminals, and project Epigraph aimed at helping the National Firearms Intelligence Cell identify uses of the Internet to circumvent UK firearms legislation.

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