New UK Computer Crime Unit

Well, that’s a relief – the UK government has caught up with the fact that there are criminals on the Internet. The government has said that it will spend £7 million to establish the Police Central E-crime Unit (PceU) in London, that it will be run by London’s Metropolitan Police and will be more than half-funded by the Met.

I’m not going to waste time talking about the fantastic stupidity of creating and then, after three years, disbanding the High-Tech Crime Unit (creating SOCA, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, whose priorities were drugs, people smuggling and similar more ‘traditional’ crimes) just as serious criminals migrated to the Internet. I am, though, going to make the obvious point that, even if the PceU does get going fairly early in 2009, it will still be something like two years before it will start being effective – it just takes a long time to get a new organisation (particularly a publicly-funded one) working, to get objectives and modi operandi and personnel and media and all those things properly sorted. And, in that time, cybercrime will become more sophisticated and the challenge of controlling it even more complex.

Let me put it another way: establishment of the PceU will be no panacea, anytime soon, for cyberthreats. Sensible organisations are just going to have keep on doing their own risk management around this issue.