UK ministers have discovered that computer hacking is no longer the preserve of awkward teens tapping away in their bedrooms - and will now wage war on gangs raiding Brits' online accounts.
The government has formed a new Cyber Crime Reduction Partnership to bring together top cops, security experts and boffins to come up with strategies to fight online crime rings. The brain bank will aid the National Cyber Crime Unit, Blighty's other crack anti-hacker team.
"For too long the public's perception of cyber crime has been a lone bedroom hacker stealing money from a bank account," security minister James Brokenshire said yesterday.
"But the reality is that cyber criminals are organised and global, with a new breed of criminals selling 'off-the-shelf' software to aid gangs in exploiting the public.
"This government is committed to tackling this threat and we have already had great success. But we want to go further and through the creation of the National Cyber Crime Unit within the National Crime Agency (NCA) and innovations such as the new Cyber Crime Reduction Partnership, I am confident we can bring these criminals to justice."
The NCA was established by law in May 2012 and is expected to be fully operational by December this year. The agency will take on the roles of the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. Its mission is tackling organised crime, fighting electronic fraud and protecting kids from abuse.
Brokenshire launched the cyber-crime partnership during a speech at the British Computer Society, a chartered institute, on Thursday. The minister added that members of the public can play their part by reporting online crimes to Action Fraud, the UK's national crime reporting centre, and by taking basic security precautions when going online, such as using strong passwords and antivirus tools.
Simon Leech, director for HP’s enterprise security arm in EMEA, welcome the move.
"The UK’s new-cyber crime unit is definitely a step in the right direction when it comes to tackling increasingly complex security threats to business and governments alike," Leech said.
"Our HP 2012 Top Cyber Security Risks Report recently revealed that total vulnerabilities are on the rise, particularly those for mobile, and so it’s more important than ever that companies take proactive steps to safe guard themselves, using actionable security intelligence from their information and security events to better identify, understand as well as address risk." ®