The level of organised crime on the Internet is increasing sharply, the head of the UK's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit warns.
In his opening address to the UK's first e-crime congress today, Detective Chief Superintendent Les Hynds is expected to highlight the significant threat posed by organised criminals.
"Hi-tech crime is increasing significantly," Hynds warns. "The Internet provides organised crime groups driven by profit with lucrative opportunities in a relatively low risk theatre of operations.
"We must question the mindset that recoils from the thought of breaking into a house and stealing; but condones the equivalent act in cyberspace," he said in a statement.
According to Hynds, hi-tech crime is more pernicious in some ways than its mainstream equivalent.
"Hi-tech crime is every type of crime but with a component placing it into the digital environment. This makes it an aggravated version of the original offence because it is able to operate instantaneously, remotely and with disregard for sovereignty and geography.
"As it becomes easier for criminals to target multiple victims, hide assets, and cover the evidence trail; I believe we must challenge the existing misguided perception that hi-tech crime is somehow less serious than its mainstream equivalent."
Since its launch in April 2001, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit has been involved in 11 operations and arrested 30 people involved in serious and organised computer related crime.
DCS Hynds is opening the UK's first e-crime congress in London, from December 9 to December 11. Speakers at the three day conference include representatives from national and international law enforcement, industry, and government.
Key issues for debate are the scope of hi-tech crime, and partnership between organisations and law enforcement.
Speakers include Bob Ainsworth, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Home Office, and Scott Charney, Chief Security Strategist for Microsoft. ®