Petaling Jaya, Malaysia (PressExposure) April 17, 2011 -- According to new government figures, cyber crime is costing the UK economy a whopping £27bn a year. Security minister Baroness Neville-Jones, estimates that over 12 months cyber crime cost government and citizens £2.1bn and £3.1bn respectively.
Neville-Jones said at the Home Office event, "It's a bit like terrorism - the more you know, the more frightening it looks. It's not that the situation has changed; it's that you know more about it. Clearly we are not the only country by a long chalk that is suffering losses."
The total figure covers £21bn from losses suffered by businesses, £3.1bn by citizens and £2.2bn by government, the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance (Ocsia) said. It did not account for the other £700m.
The government has allocated about £30m to fund the Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU) until March 2015, to aid in its work leading national investigations into serious online fraud and theft, and improving the ability of local forces to cyber crime.
The Police National E-Crime Unit (PCeU) is a part of the Specialist Crime Directorate of the Metropolitan Police Service in London, dedicated to combating e-crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The unit has a national remit, and was created in April 2008to centralize the efforts of all police forces in the UK (excluding Scotland) to fight all forms of E-crime.
The unit's stated mission is to improve the police response to victims of e-crime by developing the capability of the police service across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, co-coordinating the law enforcement approach to all types of e-crime, and by providing a national investigative capability for the most serious e-crime incidents.
Since the unit was formed it has helped tackle several major international cybercrime gangs - recently bringing down the GhostMarket website where hundreds of thousands of stolen credit card details were traded, and working with the FBI and other international investigators on cracking an alleged multimillion-pound Zeus fraud ring.
The Gh0stMarket website, which had about 8,000 members, was dubbed by the court as the "criminal equivalent of Facebook", or "Crimebook,". Three teenagers in the UK have been sentenced for up to five years in jail for creating and operating Gh0stMarket.net, one of the world's largest English-language internet crime forums.
The Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) is expanding operations in over the next four years from 1 April.
The PCeU has been doing a lot of work around the funding as one of the partners in the programme of work on UK cyber security, said Charlie McMurdie, head of the PCeU.
"As soon as we knew we were going to receive increased funding, we started working on business cases, proposed programmes of work, and recruitment," added McMurdie.
New members of the unit are ready to get to work as soon as the funding is available, with the number of staff set to more than double in the coming years to as many as 90.
The cash will let the 41-strong unit more than double its manpower to about 90 staff and press ahead with plans to pilot regional centers for digital forensics and cybercrime investigations. McMurdie said the new cash should allow the unit to meet its target of preventing £504m worth of cybercrime-related damage to the UK economy over the next four years.
Cyber police need powers to crack down on hackers who cost the UK billions, the head of Scotland Yard's e-unit said yesterday. Deputy assistant commissioner Janet Williams said gangs can target a bank before "jumping" ¬countries, by switching web servers, to avoid detection.
Police want to be able to obtain evidence much more quickly from foreign countries which will then be admissible in court.
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