Tag Archives: Internet Crime

City of London Police Commissioner calls on financial centres to act now and prevent a major cyber attack

International financial centres, Governments and law enforcement must work closely together to prevent organised criminals and terrorist organisations from bringing global markets to a standstill with a massive cyber attack. This was the message delivered by City of London Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard when he appeared as the keynote speaker at the Financial Crimes and Cyber Security Symposium in New York.

Hosted by the New York County District Attorney’s Office and held in the Federal Reserve Bank, the event was attended by more than 300 delegates from the world of policing, finance and public and private sector cyber security.

Commissioner Leppard, whose UK force is the National Policing Lead for Fraud, highlighted the increasingly sophisticated fraud and cyber threats facing world financial centres, with a particular focus on the City of London and Wall Street. He pinpointed the risks posed by state-sponsored espionage and terrorism using highly complex malware – such as Ransomware and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks – to threaten the integrity of trading platforms and major deals.

Commissioner Leppard also stated it’s now vital that law enforcement and financial institutions share information on the current threats. He called for companies to be legally obliged to report to the authorities when they have fallen victim to a cyber attack and thereby ensure steps can be taken to protect other financial institutions and target the offenders.

Adrian Leppard: City of London Police Commissioner

Adrian Leppard: City of London Police Commissioner

In recognition of the rapidly evolving and expanding threats to the global financial districts, including London and New York, the City of London Police and the New York County District Attorney’s Office are to forge a closer alliance. From Spring 2015, there will be a staff exchange programme between the two agencies aimed at developing greater operational collaboration, intelligence sharing and de-briefing of investigative Best Practice.

This development comes hot on the heels of the City of London Police signing an agreement with the Royal Bank of Scotland to have financial experts from the bank providing specialist advice and guidance under the force’s new Corporate Volunteer Consultancy Scheme.

Determination of international criminals

Speaking from New York, Commissioner Leppard said: “We cannot underestimate the determination of international criminals, operating alone or as part of serious organised crime gangs or terrorist organisations, to launch a major strike against our financial centres, particularly in London and New York. It’s therefore crucial we take a proactive approach to this threat by putting in place the technical and legal systems that will keep trading platforms secure from malware and prevent companies from being compromised by a rogue employee or weak IT systems.”

The Commissioner continued: “The agreement signed by the City of London Police and the New York County District Attorney is another important step in the right direction, bringing the people who protect the Square Mile and Wall Street closer together and ensuring we’re doing everything we can to thwart what has become a common enemy.”

New York County District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Junior added: “An increasingly close connection between cyber crime and financial crime means that co-operation is more important than ever. Our international partnerships, in particular our ongoing collaboration with Commissioner Leppard and the City of London Police, reflect a changing landscape and the understanding that cyber criminal attacks will not be limited by state or national borders. This is why it’s essential for financial institutions, Governments and law enforcement agencies to work together in protecting the integrity of our markets and financial systems as well as our citizens.”

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International law enforcement deals major blow to Dark Web markets

Co-ordinated activity by law enforcement bodies in Europe and the US has targeted marketplaces for illegal commodities on The Dark Web – the ‘hidden’ areas of the Internet.

Working with police forces across the UK, the National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested six people on 6 November in strikes co-ordinated with international partners. Those arrested include suspected administrators for the online drug marketplace Silk Road 2.0 and another drug marketplace, as well as significant vendors of illegal drugs through The Dark Web.

Simultaneously, partners from the European Cybercrime Centre – acting on intelligence developed by US counterparts – took out technical infrastructure which is key to the hosting of illegal marketplaces on The Dark Web. In total, over 400 hidden services were taken down.

The six people arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs were a 20-year-old man from Liverpool city centre, a 19-year-old man from New Waltham in Lincolnshire, a 30-year-old man from Cleethorpes, a 29-year-old man from Aberdovey in Wales, a 58-year-old man from Aberdovey, Wales and a 58-year-old woman (again from Aberdovey in Wales). All six were interviewed and have been bailed pending further enquiries.

Silk Road 2.0 seized notice

Silk Road 2.0 seized notice

A large amount of computer equipment was seized at all the addresses searched and will now be forensically examined.

The action taken by the NCA and its partners across Europe and America is part of continuing operations to target the use of online marketplaces to trade in illegal commodities such as Class A drugs, firearms and false documents. Anyone who tries to access Silk Road 2.0 will now see a notice highlighting the site has been seized.

Roy McComb, deputy director of the National Crime Agency, commented: “Over the months since the original Silk Road was taken down, we have been working with partners in the US and Europe to locate technical infrastructure key to The Dark Web and to investigate individuals suspected of significant involvement in illegal online marketplaces. Those arrested by the NCA in this phase of the operation are suspected of setting up Silk Road 2.0, or of being significant vendors of illegal drugs.”

McComb continued: “The operation is ongoing and more arrests can be expected as we continue to investigate those involved in setting up and profiting from these illegal marketplaces. Criminals like to think that The Dark Web provides a safe, anonymous haven but in reality this is just like any other organised crime network. It may take time and effort to investigate and build a criminal case, but we’re determined to identify and prosecute people caught dealing drugs and committing serious crime using The Dark Web.”

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Home Secretary Theresa May: ‘UK needs capability to defend its citizens’

The world is a dangerous place and the UK must maintain its capability to defend its citizens in the digital age, Home Secretary Theresa May has stated.

Speaking at the annual Lord Mayor’s Defence and Security Lecture in London, the Home Secretary talked of the threat the country faces, including that from British people returning home from the conflict in Syria.

The Home Secretary said that threat – whether from terrorism or organised crime – is changing fast and, on that basis, the UK needs the capabilities to defend its interests and protect its citizens.

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Theresa May stressed it was important to talk about the balance between privacy and security “in the full context of the threats we face” rather than “in a strange vacuum, as if the debate was entirely academic”.

The Home Secretary stated: “The terrorist threats to this country and our interests are changing faster than at any time since 9/11. We continue to face possible attacks by Al Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but we face further threats from Syria and now from Iraq where Al Qaida, ISIL and others have created a safe haven with substantial resources including advanced technology and weapons.”

May continued: “They are on the doorstep of Europe, just a few hours’ flying time from London, and they want to attack us – not just in Syria or Iraq but here in Britain.”

Challenges to be faced

The Home Secretary told the guests at Mansion House that it’s important to be clear about the UK’s capabilities and the challenges faced in maintaining them in a digital age.

“We are living more of our lives online, using an array of new technology,” said May. “This is hugely liberating and a great opportunity for economic growth. However, this technology has become essential not just to the likes of you and me but also to organised criminals and terrorists.”

The Home Secretary added: “Far from having some fictitious mastery over all this technology we, in democratic states, face the significant risk of being caught out by it. Governments have always reserved the power to monitor communications and to collect data about communications when it’s necessary and proportionate to do so. It is much harder now – there is more data, we do not own it and we can no longer always obtain it. I know some people will say ‘hurrah for that’ – but the result is that we are in danger of making the Internet an ungoverned, ungovernable space and a safe haven for terrorism and criminality.”

Loss of capability: the great danger

The Home Secretary described loss of capability as “the great danger we face”. May said: “The real problem is not that we have built an over-mighty state but that the state is finding it harder to fulfil its most basic duty which is to protect the public. That is why I have said before – and I will go on saying – that we need to make changes to the law to maintain the capabilities we require.”

In conclusion, Theresa May explained: “Yes, we have to make sure that the capabilities can only be used with the right authorisation and with appropriate oversight, but this is quite simply a question of life and death. A matter of national security. We must keep on making the case until we get the changes we need.”

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