The £7.4 million Police Central E-crime Unit, formed last year after extensive campaigning by the police and businesses, is crucial to fighting cybercrime, the report stated. The PCeU is tasked to “develop the overall response to cybercrime” by the police.
The report highlighted a successful recent example of the PCeU in action. In April, the unit worked with banks to target a group of suspects using a computer virus to help them steal money from personal accounts.
“In a first for a UK e-crime investigation, financial institutions and police worked together to share real time intelligence on criminal activity,” it said. “This proactive partnership with industry resulted in what would normally be a six month investigation being concluded within four weeks.”
More than 195 people had been victims of the scam, at a total cost of £700,000, and the arrests may have avoided £20 million worth of further harm, according to estimates.
The Serious Organised Crime Agency, which was formed in 2006 and absorbed the original National High Tech Crime Unit, will continue to tackle large scale cybercrime. The difference between the responsibilities of it and the PCeU may be clarified in the new strategy in December.
One of SOCA's specialities is helping to fight crime taking place in multiple countries. “Much of the cyber crime affecting the UK comes from international crime groups, and the government set up SOCA to focus in part on tackling cyber crime internationally in alliance with overseas law enforcement,” the report stated.
In a recent operation, SOCA worked with American authorities against criminals using DarkMarket, a website which offers the sale of credit card details and bank log-ins of tens of thousands of UK citizens. The work led to 12 arrests in the UK, and the government estimates the operations avoided $70 million (£43 million) in potential losses.
A clear strategy will be published before the end of the year.