in Security

Essex Police set up Cyber Crime Unit

Posted 25 May 2017 · Add Comment

Essex Police have established a new Cyber Crime Unit led by Detective Inspector Lee Morton, set up as part of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate and will be overseen by Detective Chief Inspector Morgan Cronin (a similar unit exists in Kent).

The Unit has been established in response to the growing threat from computer crime, digital threats and online fraud.

Detectives in the new team will investigate serious and complex cases such as:

  • Computer-dependent crimes - where computers or other ICT devices are used both as a tool for committing the crime and target of the crime. This includes offences defined by the Computer Misuse Act 1990. An example would be the harvesting of online bank account details using malware; and
  • Cyber-enabled crimes - committed without ICT devices, but are changed by use of ICT in terms of scale and reach. This includes online fraud, and where devices are used to organise or arrange crimes.

The team will proactively identify and investigate digital crimes, and disrupt the offenders responsible by making arrests, seizing equipment, and prosecuting them.

The officers will gather intelligence about methods used and will work to stay up to date with the latest threats, viruses and scams.

One of the main priorities for the team is to share information on the potential dangers of cyber-crime and the measures the public can take to protect themselves.

The team has already started giving presentations to different groups and plan to engage with as many businesses as possible. They will also be linking in with schools and colleges to target youngsters interested in online activities to promote safe and legal use of the internet.

Detectives in the Cyber Crime Unit will pass on their specialist knowledge to help other officers who are investigating computer crime and fraud and internal training is being given to enhance the level of expertise within Essex Police.

Detective Inspector Lee Morton said: ‘Emerging crime patterns and trends over the last year or so have pointed towards a substantial growth in this type of offence and our unit is in place to respond to that.

‘Indeed, Essex police  received more than 10,000 reports of fraud, involving the loss of some £18 million in six months alone.

‘Small businesses are particularly vulnerable as they may be unable to invest in computer protection in the same way a large company can.

‘I would urge all companies and organisations to train staff in cybersecurity. Even organisations like schools can be at risk from a threat where hackers access their telephone exchange and can exploit call forwarding systems which dial premium rate numbers being operated by criminals usually overseas. The school does not realise it has been targeted until their phone bill arrives showing calls made costing them hundreds or thousands of pounds which they are liable to pay.’

There are a number of ways businesses can make their computer systems safer:
•             Download software updates as soon as they appear.
•             Delete suspicious emails immediately.
•             Use anti-virus software.
•             Use a separate credit card for online transactions.
•             Lock your screen if you are away from your desk.
•             Don't plug memory sticks into USB ports unless you know their origin - and, in particular, don't allow anyone to charge their phone via your computer's USB port.
•             Passwords of less than eight characters are virtually useless - change them immediately.
•             Passwords should be a sentence and contain upper and lower case, letters, numbers and symbols .
•             Identify the top five data files on your system which could be useful to a competitor or a criminal, and double protect them.


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