Computer Crime Research Center


Overhaul of internet security

Date: August 21, 2007
By: Phil Muncaster

A new report from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee could lead to a major overhaul of internet security practices in the UK, with recommendations ranging from the setting up of a central web-based e-crime reporting system to the introduction of security breach notification laws.

According to the proposal, the reporting tool would help law enforcement agencies gain an understanding of the computer crime landscape in the UK, and offer a central repository to collate reports and identify patterns.

A web-based system could be a useful tool for companies if it offered a confidential method of reporting attacks and a more direct link to police IT specialists, something previously provided by the UK's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, which is now part of the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

The report also backs the proposed Police Central E-crime Unit and calls for ├Čthe establishment of a central network of computer forensic laboratories to support individual forces.

Jeremy Beale, head of e-business at the CBI, welcomed the report's recommendations. A central e-crime reporting system to pull together criminal investigations at a national level could really speed up the process of identifying and prosecuting crimes, Beale argued.

What would also make a real difference would be improved police capabilities and resources, which the report notes are entirely inadequate at present.

The proposal also calls for a review of the current system that requires online fraud to be reported directly to banks. Instead, fraud victims should be able to lodge a police report and have some formal acknowledgement of the fact of a crime having been committed, the report argues.
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