Daily Archives: 30/09/2013

Met Commissioner heralds two years of Total Policing successes

Speaking on his second anniversary in the role, Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has stated that he expects to see the biggest percentage drop in recorded crime in the Met for 30 years during the coming year.

Speaking at the Criminal Justice Management Conference 2013, Sir Bernard outlined the dramatic improvements in crime reduction in the past two years under the Total Policing programme he launched back in September 2011.

During that time, recorded crime has fallen by 10.8%, which is more than four times faster than during the previous two years. This has meant there are 64,000 fewer victims of crime per year than when Sir Bernard took office.

Gang crime has also seen dramatic reductions. There have been nearly 40% fewer guns fired than two years ago and knife injuries for people under 25 are down by nearly a third. Serious youth violence has also dropped by more than a quarter.

Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe

Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe

Robbery, which had risen by 18% in the previous two years, has fallen by 16% and burglary (which had been rising slightly) is down 7.2% since August 2011.

The numbers of Stop and Search actions have dropped by one third since Sir Bernard introduced the ‘Stop-It’ programme and, at the same time, those stops which are being carried out are more effective (with positive outcomes increasing from 12% in 2010-2011 to 17.4% in the past year to April).

The smart use of technology

The Met Commissioner: “My vision for 21st Century policing is based on the smart use of technology. Total Policing is Smart Policing, fighting crime more efficiently and effectively.”

Sir Bernard highlighted the increased use of ANPR cameras to spot and stop criminals using our roads and new crime mapping techniques to predict where burglars might strike next.

“We’re about to begin piloting IT which will enable our officers to have all the information they need at their fingertips, and be able to carry on working without returning to base – wherever they are.”

Alongside cuts in crime, public confidence and victim satisfaction is rising, up 2% over two years. The Met is answering 999 calls more quickly (within five seconds on average) and getting to urgent incidents with 15 minutes more than 90% of the time (which is well within target).

Better policing within tighter budgets

The Commissioner also highlighted how the Met has delivered this at the same time as restructuring itself to deliver better policing within tighter budgets.

The Met is on track to deliver £600 million in savings and is already saving £25 million per annum in property costs alone.

The Commissioner concluded by stating: “I want Londoners to love, respect and be proud of their Met – we’re here for them. I want people to see us treating all Londoners with equal respect. I want all our communities to have equally high levels of confidence and satisfaction. I want us to use technology to be more responsive to the public while always being one step ahead of the criminals. I want to see the biggest drop in crime for 30 years this year. I want us to be the best by any measure.”

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Britain will build “dedicated capability to counter-attack” in cyber space

The Defence Secretary has announced that Britain will build a dedicated capability to counter-attack in cyberspace and, if necessary, to strike in cyberspace.

As part of the MoD’s full-spectrum military capability, Philip Hammond MP has announced that the department is set to recruit hundreds of computer experts as cyber reservists in order to help defend the UK’s national security, working at the cutting-edge of the nation’s cyber defences.

Hammond confirmed the creation of a new Joint Cyber Reserve which will see reservists working alongside regular forces to protect critical computer networks and safeguard vital data.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond MP

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond MP

“In response to the growing cyber threat,” said Hammond, “we are developing a full-spectrum military cyber capability, including a strike capability, to enhance the UK’s range of military capabilities. Increasingly, our defence budget is being invested in high-end capabilities such as cyber and intelligence and surveillance assets to ensure we can keep the country safe.”

He added: “The Cyber Reserves will be an essential part of ensuring we defend our national security in cyberspace. This is an exciting opportunity for Internet experts in industry to put their skills to good use for the nation, protecting our vital computer systems and capabilities.”

Creating the Cyber Reserve

Creation of the Joint Cyber Reserve will represent a significant increase in the number of reservists employed in cyber and information assurance.

Members of the Joint Cyber Reserve will provide support to the Joint Cyber Unit (Corsham), the Joint Cyber Unit (Cheltenham) and other information assurance units across defence.

Recruiting for the Joint Cyber Reserve will begin next month and target three sectors: regular personnel leaving the Armed Forces, current and former reservists with the necessary skills, and individuals with no previous military experience but with the technical knowledge, skills, experience and aptitude to work in this highly-specialised area.

All personnel applying to join will be subject to a security clearance process.

Response from the security sector

Speaking about this Government move, Peter Armstrong (director of cyber security at Thales UK) commented: “By re-skilling its existing force in cyber security, the Ministry of Defence has addressed the blurring of the lines between physical and virtual defence which has become prevalent over the past decade. With the advent of cyber espionage and attacks which threaten CNI, the need for an holistic approach to national security is long overdue. It’s great to see the Ministry of Defence taking its share of responsibility for this alongside its traditional physical defence remit.”

Armstrong also explained: “In addition, and just as importantly, this move will help enormously in positioning public sector cyber security as an attractive career prospect for the next generation.”

Graeme Stewart, director of UK public sector strategy at McAfee, said: “This latest development shows that Government is taking the necessary steps to protect the UK against a very real cyber treat that’s now on par with physical threats. With greater connectivity comes a far greater risk of cyber attacks on the very foundations of the UK’s infrastructure. In the case of the country’s energy supply, for example – and the UK’s apparent intention to rely on a single, centralised smart grid – a single attack could affect the entire country and, as a worse case scenario, leave the UK without power.”

Stewart continued: “Our priority should be to ensure that the networks and devices securing our critical infrastructure are totally secure, which not only requires physical security but also a complete shift in the mindset of UK organisations. The top level attention to cyber security has to be adopted throughout organisations and individuals as a joint responsibility. Government and citizens need to work together to move from a ‘digital-by-default’ to ‘security-by-default’ scenario, ensuring that the basic knowledge needed to protect against the ever-growing threat is ingrained in our national consciousness.”

Neil Thacker, the information security and strategy officer (EMEA) at Websense commented: “In light of the House of Ccommons Defence Select Committee highlighting weaknesses in the MoD’s cyber incident response strategy, as well as the news in July that the UK is losing the fight against cybercrime, this is welcome and timely news to offer additional resources to aid cyber defence.”

Thacker went on to state: “Highly sophisticated, targeted attacks are occurring every day and are focused on both small and large organisations, with UK businesses being named by cyber crime organisations as their Number One target. Like the Government, UK businesses cannot take their eyes off the ball and need to put in place the right defences to protect their employees and the organisation’s critical data.”

Continuing the theme, Hacker explained: “It’s more crucial than ever that UK businesses place data security higher up the agenda and spend IT security budgets on the right and relevant technology. Proactive defences against targeted attacks and new variants of malware are key. Adding the ability to detect, contain and mitigate against the attacks is a responsibility of the IT and security teams by applying real-time malware analysis while simultaneously protecting against internal and external breaches and data theft. Detection only is not sufficient to counter this threat.”

Finding enough experts to build an effective force

Ruby Khaira (regional manager for the UK, Northern Europe and India at FireMon) said: “The new cyber defence force being announced by the MoD and Philip Hammond is an important step forward in protecting the UK’s computer networks from cyber attacks. The UK already has good protection in place, but cybercrime is a continuously growing threat and to build on existing defences is both necessary and logical.”

Khaira continued: “As I see it, the real issue here is being able to find enough computer experts to build an effective force. With a distinct shortage of security personnel within the private sector, this could be a very real problem. Therefore, the MoD will likely need to have a robust training plan in place to instruct those they hire for the cyber defence force, and will then need to offer a good enough package to keep those security professionals from moving to the private sector.”

Khaira also stressed: “Along with finding and retaining talent, it’s important that the new cyber defence force can effectively monitor and proactively identify areas of risk, which requires implementing security technologies that can automatically identify security gaps and prioritise remediation according to the level of risk to critical assets.”

David Emm, the senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, has also offered his views on the Government’s latest move.

“The British Government has for some time been indicating that it is keen to ramp up the overall defence posture of British companies in order to reduce the risk of attacks thereon,” said Emm. “This is something which Eugene Kaspersky has long been calling on all Governments to do, but it now seems that the Government is saying it considers ‘offence to be the best form of defence’.”

Emm then stated: “While it’s understandable that Governments might want to adopt such a position, doing so introduces a very real possibility of a cyber arms race and, accordingly, increased risks to Internet-based systems everywhere. After all, if one Government decides to openly engage in cyber offence, others will be sure to follow suit. Any cyber offence escalation would increase the risk of the technologies involved ending up in the wrong hands, possibly to be manipulated for malevolent ends. Unlike traditional weapons, tools used in cyber warfare are very easy to clone and reprogram by adversaries or other threat actors such that they can be used in sustained strikes.”

On that basis, Emm said: “It’s imperative for countries to understand the possible consequences – the specific dangers and potential damage – of cyber war before developing offensive cyber weapons. The only effective way to counter this trend is for Governments to work together towards the establishment of a cyber arms limitation agreement that prevents the continued escalation of cyberattacks.”

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Met Police’s Central e-Crime Unit’s cyber investigations save UK over £1 billion

The Metropolitan Police Service’s Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) has saved the UK economy a staggering £1.01 billion in the last two and a half years. This is double the target figure and a result that has been achieved in half the time expected.

This figure, announced in a new report, relates to the amount of money that the UK has been prevented from losing through the impact of cyber crime and has been achieved following a number of successful operations led by the PCeU.

This unprecedented achievement equates to a saving of £58 to the public purse for every pound of funding invested in PCeU-led operations.

The PCeU’s fourth and final Financial Harm Reduction and Performance Report shows that, in this time, the unit has also charged 126 suspects, secured the conviction of 89 cyber criminals (with a further 30 people awaiting trial), disrupted 26 national and international cyber-based organised crime groups and also secured a total of 184 years imprisonment for 61 criminals given custodial sentences (an average of three years in jail per offender).

Funding from the National Cyber Security Programme

In April 2011, the Government’s National Cyber Security Programme – led by The Cabinet Office – allocated funding for the PCeU to take the national lead on investigating serious cyber crime, such as computer intrusion, distribution of malicious malware, denial of service attacks and Internet-enabled fraud and to support the ‘mainstreaming’ of cyber skills in wider policing.

Commander Steve Rodhouse

Commander Steve Rodhouse

Subsequently, the PCeU aimed to deliver £504 million of harm reduction within four years. It achieved this reduction within just 12 months following intensive operational activity targeting online criminals.

Such activity includes Operation Allandale, which saw the arrest of three men behind a conspiracy to defraud banks worldwide using a sophisticated phishing scam, in turn preventing loss of around £74 million to the UK purse.

Last year, Operation Caldelana saw officers prevent £39 million of harm to the UK when they arrested an organised crime group who had siphoned off money from a bank customer’s account, having obtained her details through a sophisticated phishing scam. The gang had details for a further 11,000 potential victims.

Making the UK’s cyber space more secure

Commander Steve Rodhouse, head of Gangs and Organised Crime at the Met, said: “The PCeU has exceeded all expectations in respect of making the UK’s cyber space more secure. This is due to its innovative partnership work with industry and law enforcement across the globe and its dynamic system for developing intelligence, enforcing the law and quickly putting protection measures in place.”

Detective superintendent Terry Wilson from the PCeU added: “Developing a national policing response to this new and evolving criminal methodology has been extremely challenging. However, the PCeU has enjoyed outstanding success during its time as the national lead on combating cyber crime in the UK.”

DS Wilson continued: “The creation of three regional hubs across the UK has strengthened the national response to cyber crime. We’ve worked closely with partners from across the globe to reduce the financial harm to thousands of UK citizens and businesses, as well as securing the convictions of many cyber criminals who have targeted the UK.”

In conclusion, DS Wilson explained: “Harm is not always financial. Immeasurable levels of emotional and reputational harm are also suffered by those who have their personal details hacked and published. In some cases, the release of personal information has potentially placed lives at risk. On that basis, our achievements have also been significant in ensuring public safety.”

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100 in 100 Roll of Honour recognition for Securi-Guard

Securi-Guard has joined a special industry roll of honour after taking on two apprentices as part of a major national recruitment drive administered by Skills for Security.

The Plymouth-based company will train Liam Hewins (aged 18) and 17-year-old Kieran Pope, both from Plymouth, to work in its security systems division as part of a commitment to help the next generation of security industry employees.

In recognition of the two appointments, Securi-Guard is among a number of security firms nationwide who have been named in the 100 in 100 Roll of Honour by Skills for Security, the not-for-profit organisation that serves as the sector skills body for the private security industry.

It offers information, advice and guidance to help with training and skills development in the security sector for both apprentices and existing security personnel who want to improve their knowledge and skills set.

Terri Jones, the new director general at Skills for Security, said: “We’re delighted that Securi-Guard is supporting the 100 in 100 initiative for 2013. Apprentices deliver real value to employers, and developing the talent of the future is vital to the economic success of the sector. Congratulations to Kieran and Liam. We look forward to following their progress.”

Left to Right: Securi-Guard's Paul Lawson with new apprentices Liam Hewins and Kieran Pope

Left to Right: Securi-Guard’s Paul Lawson with new apprentices Liam Hewins and Kieran Pope

Installation, maintenance, Health and Safety

Securi-Guard will be training Liam and Kieran as security and fire systems engineers under the auspices of Skills for Security’s training programme.

They will both work with an experienced engineer and be taught a variety of skills, including installation of systems, how to repair and maintain the systems to a high standard and ensuring compliance with Health and Safety regulations.

Scott Boyd, Securi-Guard’s managing director for fire and security, said he was delighted to be able to support the 100 in 100 initiative.

“This is an extremely worthwhile campaign and represents a great opportunity for us to help two young apprentices make their mark in the security industry,” stated Scott.

“As a family company, we take great pride in developing our staff from within and see apprenticeship schemes such as this as a natural extension of that ethos. It’s a chance to develop two individuals and equip them with the kind of skills and knowledge that will benefit them throughout their careers.”

The 100 in 100 campaign for 2013 is aiming to place at least 100 new apprentices across the security sector between IFSEC International 2013 (which was held in May at the NEC) and the Security Excellence Awards Ceremony, which takes place at London’s Hilton Park Lane Hotel on Wednesday 23 October.

Fully endorsed by skills minister Matthew Hancock, last year’s campaign resulted in 320 new apprentices. The organisers are hoping to top that figure in 2013.

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