Yes, e-Crime Minister

Calls have been made for the next government to appoint a minister to promote the fight against cybercrime.

Speaking at the e-Crime Congress in London, Simon Janes, International Operations manager at computer forensics company Ibas said such a move would send a message to criminals.

"Having an e-crime minister would send out a strong signal to the criminal fraternity as well as those who may be tempted to engage in online activities that are morally wrong if not legally wrong," said Janes.

He said communication between different interested bodies and business associations, such as the NHTCU, Police, Internet Crime Forum, Home Office, BCS and CBI is "absolutely vital" and must be improved.

"Actions and recommendations have to be championed at the highest level to ensure we're not discussing the same issues again at next year's e-Crime Congress." The former Scotland Yard detective added.

Earlier this week MP Derek Wyatt moved a 10 minute rule motion in the House of Commons calling for amendments to the Computer Misuse Act. He proposed two further measures that would add a specific denial of service (DoS) offence. He also asked for an increase on the tariff for Computer Misuse Act section 1 offences involving hacking from six months to two years.

"It is regularly claimed that the cost of cleaning up virus or worm attacks runs into billions of pounds," said Wyatt in Parliament. "The current level of sentences does not reflect the seriousness of such offences."

Experts in the industry applauded Wyatt's efforts but criticised the amount of time given to the debate.

"This lack of interest is an insult to British businesses, which are most at risk from cyber attacks," said Simon Perry, vice president Security Strategy EMEA, Computer Associates. "A specific DoS offence would be a welcome addition to the Act as instances of DoS extortion attempts are rising - it's a threat that companies of all sizes face."

Last month SC reported that the head of the All Party Parliamentary Internet Group (Apig) has called for amendments to the Computer Misuse Act. Such a move would bring UK law in line with the European Convention on Cybercrime.

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