Met cyber cops save £140m from e-crime
03 October 2011
Police operations against cyber criminals have saved the UK economy £140m in the past six months alone following a multi-million pound government funding injection to fight cyber crime.
The Met's Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) said it had exceeded its full year target in just six months and that it had already delivered nearly 30 per cent of its £504m four-year harm reduction target.
Of the £65m allocated by the government to tackle cyber crime over the next four years, £30m was given to the ACPO National e-Crime Programme (NecP) earlier this year, after ministers recognised cyber crime as a Tier 1 threat.
Funds are being used to support the Met's team of 85 e-crime specialists who tackle serious cyber crime incidents of computer intrusion, malware distribution, denial of service (DDoS) attacks and internet enabled fraud.
One operation alone, Operation Pagode, saved £84m worth of harm after five defendants were jailed for a total of 15.5 years following an investigation into an online 'criminal forum' which traded unlawfully obtained credit card details and tools to commit computer offences.
And Operation Dynamaphone, which protected £5.5m, saw three men jailed for 13.5 years after involvement in what was described by police as a "sophisticated and concerted attack on the UK and international banking system". This operation is believed to have seen the first prosecutions in the UK involving such detailed evidence of organised internet phishing.
"In the initial six month period the PCeU, together with its partners in industry and international law enforcement, has excelled in its efforts to meet this substantial commitment and have delivered in excess of £140 million of financial harm reduction to the UK economy," said Janet Williams, ACPO eCrime lead for law enforcement.
"We hope to be able to better this result in the future as we expand our national capability."
And detective superintendent Charlie McMurdie, from the Police Central e-Crime Unit said: "The PCeU continues to take action in its continuing efforts to reduce the harm caused to the UK economy and to UK citizens by those making use of the internet to commit crime.
"This initial result is only a small sample of the current investigations and interventions being conducted and whilst providing an investment to return ratio of £1: 35, the figure alone does not capture the other important benefits gleaned from the learning obtained from targeting the higher echelon of cyber criminals that we then share with our partners."