“The only way we can deal with this problem is to find professionals in the industry to advise and use their expertise” he said, explaining that the majority of staff at the PCeU are not trained in intelligence and do not have a technical background. “The problem is, we can’t afford trained experts. I’m here to ask you all to please offer your support” he said, addressing the audience.
The panel, chaired by Nick Selby, VP and research director of enterprise security for The 451 Group, also included Prof. Howard Schmidt, ISF; Mike Humphrey, Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and James Brokenshire MP, Shadow crime reduction minister.
“The problem with e-crime” opened Selby “is that the risk of punishment if caught is very low”. Schmidt expanded by explaining that e-criminals are so successful because “they’ll steal £1 from a million people rather that make one big attack. People are unlikely to report a £1 loss, so the perpetrator gets away with it”.
MP James Brokenshire put forward his belief that the problem with e-crime is the forces’ inability to engage the public, and as such has resulted in a worryingly low level of fear about cyber-crime. “So many people try to box off e-crime as ‘something that the technologists can deal with’. We need to break away from terms like botnets that don’t engage the public. We need to make them understand. From a political point of view, I’m concerned that there are seemingly few police offers concentrating on this”.
“There’s a lot the government can do – not just through enforcement and legislation – but by thinking about the way they do business, and the way they are seemingly moving towards centralising data. We need to break away from that” Brokenshire continued, “not just because of cost and liberty reasons, but because there are higher risks of breaches because of the wide-sharing elements of centralisation. If you go down a track not thinking about the implications of storing a great amount of data in one place – you’re not doing the public a good service”.
SOCA’s Humphrey declared the inability to size the problem of e-crime. “How can we know the reality of e-crime? The true scale of what’s happening? People don’t report viruses or phishing letters – they just delete them. If we allowed people to report these things, the volume would be incredible”.
The panel agreed that stopping e-crime is impossible, and emphasised the importance of educating the public to make them less likely to fall victim to e-crime. “It’s our responsibility to teach the next generation about e-security – in the same way that we teach them about wearing a seatbelt” said Schmidt.
James Brokenshire agreed. “We need to educate children in schools about cyber safety. Whilst young people are technology savvy, there is a great sense of naivety about the internet and the dangers online”.
SOCA’s Humphrey emphasised the importance of analysing e-crime trends. “We need to put advice out to the public who are falling victim to e-crime”.
“The online fraud centre needs to be used not just as a tool to analyse threats and problems but used as law enforcement to bring these criminals to justice” said Brokenshire. “It needs to share good practice and educate police centres around the country about technology crimes. We need to look at how forensics can be triaged much more effectively” he concluded.