Syndicates edge into internet crime scene
Date: October 08, 2003
London: Organised crime syndicates have stepped up their presence on the internet, operating extortion rackets, child pornography rings and elaborate financial scams, Britain's top cyber cop says.
And the most vulnerable target is the individual web user, said Detective Chief Superintendent Len Hynds, head of the UK's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU).
"Organised crime is turning to the weakest element in the chain - the people. It's the hands on the keyboard on either end of the transaction that is the actual weak point," Hynds said.
The crime syndicates, he said, are based all over the world. Investigations have led the NHTCU repeatedly to Eastern European countries, including Ukraine, Russia and Latvia.
The groups have honed their internet skills as a greater flow of business is conducted online.
"Organised crime in all its guises is extremely flexible. It does spot the new and lucrative opportunity," Hynds said.
In the NHTCU's two-year existence, the 55-person task force has made nearly 110 arrests for such age-old crimes as blackmail and extortion, to decidedly hi-tech computer hacking cases. - Reuters
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