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Ireland Police Boosts Cyber Capabilities

The Irish police force An Garda Síochána has announced that it will set up specialist units to liaise with international partners on current and emerging threats, and to provide cyber and forensic tools to support front line policing and state security.

In the “Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021”, it declared that it will expand its capabilities through training with academic partners, increased investment in technology and people, and regionalization of the Computer Crime Investigation Unit. This is part of a holistic and joined-up operation plan in line with the National Cyber Security Strategy 2015-2017 to deal with all forms of cyber-attack.

The National Cyber Security Desk will be located within crime and security that will liaise with national and international stakeholders including the Europol National Unit (ENU), Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB), police partners and security organizations such as Europol (EC3), the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), and Interpol.

Speaking to Infosecurity, BH Consulting CEO Brian Honan said that his understanding was that existing resources will be utilized in the regional Computer Crime Investigation Units, and they will be trained in how to provide these services. He said that over time, dedicated resources may have to be found and allocated to these units.

Asked if the problem is that cybercrime is not reported, and therefore the police cannot act on it, he said: “The issue is not just that cybercrime is not properly reported and therefore Law Enforcement cannot act on it, the problem is that inadequate and improper reporting of cybercrime means that to those who decide on what resources law enforcement require may not have the necessary information to ensure proper resources are assigned to cybercrime.

“Under current Irish law, cybercrime is often prosecuted under other types of crime, for example fraud, which unintentionally masks the level of cybercrime that is actually happening. While reporting cybercrime to the police does not necessarily mean that the individual incident being reported will be successfully resolved, it could provide law enforcement with intelligence and data that may be used in conjunction with information from other incidents to identify and prosecute those behind these crimes.”

Asked if the upcoming UK referendum on membership to the European Union would affect the number of people required for this expansion, Honan said that anyone working in the Computer Crime Investigation Units will most likely have to be a trained member of An Garda Siochana, so will have to be an existing member of the force. “Whether the UK leaves the EU or not will most likely not have a major impact on that.”

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