Headlines: July 16th, 2003

The Home Office is developing its first e-crime strategy to detect and deter criminals from widening their activities into the rapidly developing areas of new technology. It is working with law enforcement agencies and industry to put a strategy together by February 2004.New and developing technologies present widespread opportunities for criminals. New technology is being used for old crimes such as fraud and paedophilia. For example mobile phones allow criminals to impersonate people in ways that are not possible with land lines. They are using high-tech means to evade the law and commit serious crimes, on both a national and international level. New e-crimes range from hacking, cracking, individuals who propagate computer viruses, worms, trojan horses through to denial of service attacks. This is where a website or individual’s user account is overwhelmed with actions, such as e-mails, in a deliberate attempt to overload and disable it.

Home Office Minister Caroline Flint said: “Police and Government need to be equally flexible and not just respond to this rapidly changing environment, but to keep one step ahead of the criminals. We want to create a safe and secure digital environment, where e-commerce flourishes and we can all enjoy the enormous benefits of working with information systems and networks.”

The Government has invested 25 million pounds in combating hi-tech crime, setting up the National Hi-tech Crime Unit, within the National Crime Squad, and helping local forces to fight e-crime. The Unit was established in 2001 as the UK’s first proactive multi-agency law enforcement agency to tackle new and emerging threats.