Soca to rethink e-crime fight

Soca to rethink e-crime fight

Crime agency renews links with private sector to share information

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has signalled its intent to renew contacts with the private sector to help tackle concerns over e-crime in business.

Cyber crime is a major problem for many organisations, especially in the financial services sector, and cost the UK £2.4bn in 2004 ­ the last time the impact was measured.

The agency has been rethinking its role in this area as part of a long-term strategy, Sharon Lemon, Soca head of e-crime told Computing.

“We have started reviewing our contacts ­ we had many varied contacts in the private sector, although the outcomes were not always as productive as we would like,” she said.

The new strategy will revolve around increased information sharing, said Lemon.
“We want to find out what e-crime reduction strategies are in businesses and how we can share more information,” she said.

In April 2006, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) ­ which was highly regarded in the private sector ­ was absorbed into Soca, severing important links with businesses.

But recently, Soca’s e-crime unit has been reviewing its contacts sector by sector, after setting up an information sharing forum for financial services, it will turn its attention to online retailers.

The key is to overhaul the one-way relationships that were the basis of NHTCU operations, said Lemon.

“In NHTCU we had a banking briefing where we would talk to those institutions; now we need information back,” she said. “The banking forum is about information sharing and intelligence powers that enable us to do that.”

Any action in this area would be welcome, said John Meakin, information security officer at Standard Chartered Bank.

“I have seen no evidence of this move by Soca, but it would certainly be a good thing,” he said.

Sources in four other banks also said they are not yet aware of the scheme.
Launching a Tory policy on cyber crime last week, shadow home secretary David Davis criticised the government’s current policy on e-crime.

“Rolling the NHTCU into Soca reduced the priority of addressing e-crime,” he said.