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NHTCU disappears into new crime agency

NHTCU disappears into new crime agency
NHTCU disappears into new crime agency 

By Matthew Broersma
04 April 2006

When you're hit by a virus, will SOCA want to know?
Home Secretary Charles Clarke has formally launched the Serious
Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which will handle high-tech crime along
with drugs trafficking, immigration crime, money laundering and
identity fraud.

IT industry observers, meanwhile, said criticisms of the previous
anti-cybercrime approach had not yet been addressed.

SOCA folds in the National High-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU), formerly the
main national UK force tackling cybercrime, along with the National
Crime Squad, the National Criminal Intelligence Service and
specialists from HM Revenue and Customs and the UK Immigration

There is a worry that high-tech crime may be lost at SOCA amid a
predominant focus on drugs trafficking and immigration crime,
according to industry observers. The new body plans to spend 40
percent of its resources on stopping drug trafficking, 25 percent on
immigration, 10 percent on individual and private sector fraud and 15
percent on other types of crime, with another 10 percent spent on
assisting other law-enforcement agencies.

But anti-cybercrime efforts may also benefit from being included
alongside other types of crime. "In some ways it makes sense, since it
isn't really distinct from other types of crime," said Graham Cluley,
senior technology consultant with Sophos.

The main problem under the NHTCU was the lack of a clear structure for
the reporting of cybercrime, which means there are no reliable
cybercrime statistics for the UK.

"A clear structure for how to report computer crimes has been missing
all along. If you're hit by a virus, no one in authority wants to
know," Cluley said. "They actually say, 'don't tell us, tell the
antivirus companies'. With this reshuffling, there is a danger that
companies may not be clear whom to report to."

Clarke said the new agency will be better able to tackle sophisticated

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