The UK government has unveiled a new cyber security strategy, which includes the creation of a new cyber crime unit.
The Cyber Crime Unit will sit with the National Crime Agency and is an extension of the Metropolitan Police force’s eCrime Unit. The Metropolitan Police claimed last month that its 85-strong police central e-crime unit had saved the UK economy £140 million in just six months.
“This unit will build on the ground-breaking work of the Metropolitan Police’s eCrime Unit by expanding the deployment of ‘cyber-specials’ giving police forces across the country the necessary skills and experience to handle cyber crimes,” said Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office.
He added: “We will also ensure that the police use existing powers to ensure that cyber criminals are appropriately sanctioned.”
The Cyber Crime Unit is expected to be up and running by 2013.
The cyber security strategy also outlines the creation of a new Joint Cyber Unit hosted by GCHQ, which aims to develop the UK’s military cyber security capabilities.
Furthermore, the government is introducing a single system for reporting financially-motivated cyber crime through the existing Action Fraud reporting centre.
In its National Security Strategy last year, the government classed cyber security as a top priority for the country. It earmarked £650 million over four years to support the National Cyber Security Programme.
Maude said that the strategy published today will set out how the UK will deal with cyber threats to promote economic growth and protect the nation’s security.
"Currently, around six per cent of the UK’s GDP is enabled by the internet and this is set to grow. But with this opportunity comes greater threats," he said.
"Online crime including intellectual property theft costs the UK economy billions each year."
Maude also reiterated the need for businesses to work with government on cyber security.
He said: "Together with the private sector, we are pioneering a new national cyber security ‘hub’ that will allow the government and businesses to exchange information threats and responses.
"This promises to transform the way we manage cyber attacks and greatly strengthen our security capacity."
Meanwhile, the government plans to boost the role of the Centre for Protection of the National Infrastructure, to include more organisations that were not previously considered as part of the critical infrastructure.
On the consumer side, the government will work with ISPs to develop a new voluntary code of conduct to help people identify if their computers have been compromised and how they resolve the issue.
The government plans to provide a progress update on the strategy in 12 months' time.