By Max Clarke

The government yesterday announced the allocation of an extra £63 million pounds to the nation’s police e-Crime unit in order to help prevent cyber crime. The issue of cyber crime grown in prominence since the end of 2010, after the anonymous group of hacktivists acting in solidarity with controversial Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, brought down the websites of the Swedish Prosecution Authority, highlighted the vulnerability of the British government to such attacks.

In support of the increased funding is the NCC Group- Britain’s largest IT assurance firm. However, NCC Group CEO Rob Cotton has warned that these measures will only be effective if red tape for UK cyber security is reduced, and international measures for tackling this threat are in place:

Rob Cotton, CEO of NCC Group:

“Following the Government’s budget cuts, it was inconceivable to think that the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) could have any impact on cyber crime whilst relying on favours from private sector companies and volunteer staff. It is therefore good to see that this at last being taken seriously and given the scale of budget it needs.

“Plans to combine the PCeU with the National Crime Agency should be managed carefully. Cyber crime can target many different areas from private sector banks, retailers and other businesses to schools, hospitals and national infrastructure and it is important that all national security departments can work together. However, it is also important that cyber security has its own dedicated resource and the ability to act quickly and independently without being hindered by the red tape of a larger agency.

“We also need to look wider than just our own response to the problem. Cyber crime is a global issue and networks of hacktivists, such as the Anonymous group, can come together from across the world. We therefore need to ensure that countries are combining efforts to tackle the problem and that the global rules of engagement discussed at the National Security Conference are put in place.”

And John Yeo, Director of Trustwave SpiderLabs advanced security for the European, Middle Eastern and African regions said:

“The proposed new funding signals the Government’s commitment to targeting the significant problem of cybercrime and protecting the interests of national security. We have seen, from the results of our investigations of real world data compromises, that in the majority of cases the origin of attack is outside of the UK. Given the scale of the challenge, it’s vital that the UK sets aside budget and devises proactive measures to ensure the safeguarding of data and information against the outsider threat.”