Business, government and the police must all work in the fight against e-crime, says Simon Moores.
With media coverage very much focused on the first day of last week’s e-crime congress, day two passed almost unnoticed.
The release of the NOP poll examing the impact of hi-tech crime on UK business, had revealed, as expected, that the problem of e-crime continues to grow at the expense of business.
But its most revealing bombshell statistic, was the news that at least three companies had, between them, experienced losses in excess of £60m.
Just as revealing, perhaps, was the figure for the number of businesses reporting hi-tech crime to the police was less than 25%. A troubling statistic which strengthens the hands of fraudsters, phishers and extortionists.
On the second day of the conference, assistant chief constable Jim Gamble of the National Crime Squad argued that the National Hi-tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) is everything that SOCA, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, should aspire to.
“Every police officer needs to understand that e-crime is not just paedophile crime," he said.
"The police need to be more informed and educated and must realise that the convergence between old and new crime has already taken place. There is a danger of undermining our own credibility. Talk is cheap and money buys whiskey and if we have to find a solution, it may have to be in the absence of government support, if necessary.”
He concluded by adding,”We don’t want people saying of our hi-tech policing capability, 'we knew who they were, but not what they did'. Instead, we need to be asking what we can do for you.”
On the first day of the conference, Home Office minister Caroline Flint gave a well-polished performance, which appeared to reiterate the government’s intention of throwing legislation and consultation at the e-crime problem and the promise of a strategy to appear very soon.
But Jim Paice, the shadow police and legal affairs spokesman, offered a very different impression of progress on day two, quoting from Winston Churchill: “So they, [the government], go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.”
He added, “The Conservative Party believes that confidence in the internet is essential to the future of this country and that the race to deliver 100% e-government by 2005, and through digital inclusion, achieve the maximum broadband penetration among the population without considering the potential impact of e-crime is unwise.
"We would like to call today, not only for the swift publication of the government’s long overdue e-crime strategy document, but also for a much broader review of the nation’s e-crime strategy how government imagines it can resist the approaching tide of digital crime with the overworked resource at its disposal.”
CitiGroup’s director of fraud management, Joe Triano, called for a truly international Hi-tech Crime Agency and, once again, from UK delegates representing the largest institutions and businesses, there was a call for a single organisation in government with authority for all internet security and crime issues, instead of the present Home Office problem.
Delegates agreed that the law is not tough enough on offenders who are invariably punished less than speeding motorists, and that the criminal justice system needs to treat more seriously a criminal process that is, increasingly, threatening brand confidence and the commercial viability of digital business.
Somehow, it was agreed, that business, government and the police must find new ways of sharing information that can lead to a partnership against serious and organised crime on the ground and in cyberspace.
But, how it can be achieved in a practical sense may be a question that is still being asked at next year’s e-crime Congress.
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Setting the world to rights with the collected thoughts and opinions of leading industry analyst Dr Simon Moores of Zentelligence.
Acting globally, Zentelligence (Research) advises governments, suppliers, business and the media on the evolution, application and delivery of leading-edge technologies and specialises in the areas of eGovernment and information security.
For further information on Zentelligence and its research, presentation and analyst services visit www.zentelligence.com