Justin Partridge, Leeds University Business School and Visiting Fellow at the Open University Centre for Policing Research and Learning, considers the major issues facing the policing of cybercrime ahead of the second session of the Policing Innovation Forum 2021: Partnering Up Against Cybercrime.
Police forces have wrestled with both new forms of crime and new ways of committing traditional crimes as digital and internet technologies have developed. In partnership with organisations such as the National Cyber Security Centre, they aim to keep the public safe from cybercrime, and to deal with cyber threats. Increasingly though, police forces are caught in the centre of three issues. Firstly, cybercriminals can commit crimes with increasing ease, with point and click tools to enable crime, and simple access to leaked personal data giving access both to potential victims and the tools with which to commit crime. Secondly the complexity of digital life has increased – most people have a smart phone, tablet or laptop, most families have gaming consoles, and all of these can be used to contact people and commit crimes, especially where security updates are often infrequent, and the public (and organisations) continue to use outdated technology and don’t install available updates. Finally, the threat of cybercrime spans a huge range; from state actors conducting large scales attacks, organised crime groups and fraudsters seeking better ways to achieve their goals, to individuals harassing and threatening others through social media sites.
This complex landscape is ever changing, and as fast as one tool, network, or organised group is closed down or infiltrated, others emerge. New technologies are rapidly developed (often with little thought to security) and criminals are swift to adopt these as new vectors for attack (Holt 2010, Tange et al 2020, Sheridan 2021). An approach that fails to join up the skills, knowledge and resources of law enforcement, academic researchers and businesses is no longer fit for purpose in such an environment.
The N8 Policing Research Partnership is holding an event as part of the annual innovation forum looking at ways in which police can (and should) work with academic and private partners to address the issues around cybercrime. The event will also consider why non-police partners should be interested in such a partnership – what are the common areas of interest, how can data be shared effectively and legally, what are the practicalities of such a partnership and how might it be effective for the partners, the police and most importantly for the public.
Speakers will cover the above points as well as the challenges of engaging with small businesses, who are often both the target of cybercrime attacks as well as the source of personal customer data that can be sold on to facilitate attacks on individuals. If you are interested in a novel form of partnership spanning police, academics and businesses of all sizes, then this is an event that will examine this model of partnership, as well as identifying key challenges such as making security everyone’s business. Some of the big players in technology and business will consider security implications, and where the boundaries of cybercrime currently lie – and critically, where will they be in the future.
The Policing Innovation Forum 2021: Partnering Up Against Cybercrime will be held on 27 May from 1400 – 1700; registration is free. More information about the Forum, and a link to registration, is available here.
Holt TJ. Examining the Role of Technology in the Formation of Deviant Subcultures. Social Science Computer Review. 2010;28(4):466-481. doi:10.1177/0894439309351344
Tange, M. De Donno, X. Fafoutis and N. Dragoni, A Systematic Survey of Industrial Internet of Things Security: Requirements and Fog Computing Opportunities.IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 2489-2520, Fourthquarter 2020, doi: 10.1109/COMST.2020.3011208.
Sheridan, O. The state of zero trust in the age of fluid working. Network Security, Volume 2021, Issue 2, 2021, Pages 15-17, ISSN 1353-4858, https://doi.org/10.1016/S1353-4858(21)00019-2.