The government has launched a new initiative to fight organised online crime, with the creation of the Cyber Crime Reduction Partnership (CCRP).
The CCRP aims to bring together the police, security industry experts and academics to combat the increasingly organised nature of online criminality. The new unit was announced by security minister James Brokenshire at a security briefing hosted by the Chartered Institute of IT.
"For too long the public's perception of cyber crime has been a lone bedroom hacker stealing money from a bank account," Brokenshire said. "But the reality is that cyber criminals are organised and global, with a new breed of criminals selling 'off-the-shelf' software to aid gangs in exploiting the public."
He added: "This government is committed to tackling this threat and we have already had great success. But we want to go further and through the creation of the National Cyber Crime Unit within the NCA and innovations such as the new Cyber Crime Reduction Partnership, I am confident we can bring these criminals to justice.'"
The security minister mentioned statistics highlighting the growing online economy, with online retail sales reaching £2.6 billion last year, while 2012 Crime Survey for England Wales showed one in three adults was the victim of a cyber attack in the past year.
Brokenshire also highlighted a number of ongoing projects by the UK government to bolster defences against cybercriminal. This includes the launch of the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP) next month to help share information between industry and government, and moves towards the establishment of a UK National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT). The government is also planning to create the National Cyber Crime Unit later this year, merging the Police eCrime Unit (PCeU) and the Serious Organised Crime Unit Cyber wing.
Brokenshire added: "Through the introduction of the National Cyber Crime Unit later this year, through greater awareness and action from the public and industry, and through continuing to work closely with our international partners, we can deliver a lasting and transformative impact on those criminals that seek to use the economy to harm the UK and its interests."
The government plans to invest £650 million in its National Cyber Security Strategy over the next four years, with Cabinet Secretary Francis Maude claiming that 'a great deal has already been accomplished'.