Companies keep quiet on e-crime

Link: Businesses choose not to report cyber crime

Although a most companies have co-operated with police to stop computer crimes, a few pull out before prosecution, said John Lyons, crime reduction co-ordinator for the NHTCU.

Despite this the NHTCU claims some major successes and has built a team of expert data analysts who specialise in retrieving data from suspect hard drives.

And Lyons said sharing information is key: ‘We are not going to win the war against e-crime unless we share intelligence,’ he said, speaking at the IT Directors Forum.

‘Certain types of criminal, like extortionists, thrive on anonymity but e-crime does leave evidence. Once arrested our boys can recover the evidence they need from the computer hardware used. The only way to stop them is to take a sledgehammer to your hard drive, douse it in turps and get out the matches.’

Lyons outlined a series of examples of e-crime that show the extent to which new methods are being used to carry out traditional crimes.

He identified web site spoofing as a major problem for UK financial companies.

The unit receives almost daily calls from companies whose web sites had been spoofed. This involved a fraudster setting up a web site with a similar URL to a legitimate site and then harvesting access codes from users who try to log on.

Eastern European gangs were also using e-government services to try and defraud the benefits system with phantom claimants or multiple payments to a single source.

‘We’d usually advise clients to co-operate fully with the NHTCU,’ said Mark Smith, a solicitor at Morgan Cole specialising in e-crime.

‘Although there are few crimes with a legal requirement to tell the police it makes sense in most cases. The NHTCU Confidentially Charter has been a great step forward in helping companies get the confidence to do this.’

Lyons also explained how the NHTCU had a team in place to help companies with their media profiles when dealing with e-crime. In the event of a prosecution the unit’s PR staff work to avoid leaks and build a positive image of companies helping police with enquiries.

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