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Tens of millions of Britons 'at risk from email scam'

Tens of millions of UK email users may be having their financial details stolen in a "mass spamming event," according to experts in cyber crime.

Officers have warned that the scam poses "a significant risk"
Officers have warned that the scam poses "a significant risk" Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The National Crime Agency warned that small and medium businesses are the top targets of the messages that appear to be legitimate emails from banks.

The emails come with attachments that appear to be files containing details of a suspicious transaction, but in fact harbour malicious software.

The screen will then display a countdown timer that demands the payment of 2 Bitcoins (around £536) - a form of currency used for Internet transactions - in ransom for the decryption key.

The National Cyber Crime Unit advises that anyone whose computer is infected should report it to www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Government to invest £850m in new cyber crime drive

Crime is at record low levels and this government is taking action to tackle the cyber threat, investing more than £850 million through the national cyber security programme to develop and maintain cutting-edge capabilities.

The National Crime Agency will include a new elite National Cyber Crime unit to target the most serious offenders and provide enhanced intelligence for CEOP so they can protect even more children from harm.

But we know we need to keep pace with criminals as they target the web and so we continue to consider ways to ensure the police and security services have access to communications data.

– Home Office spokesman

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Police need 'greater resources' to tackle e-crimes

Crime is changing and not falling at the rate that figures suggests, the chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales said today, after an influential group of MPs found that UK was "losing the war against cyber crime" in a new report.

Steve Williams said:

It is extremely concerning that relentless cuts to policing are continuing at a time when there is a burgeoning cyber crime industry.

This report highlights how the Government message that its reforms are working because crime is falling is one which is over-simplistic and misleading. It is also rightly acknowledges that online crime can play a direct role in other offences being committed.

Crime is clearly changing, not falling at the rate the figures suggest, and an unknown but extremely high number of offences are going unreported. The police service needs greater, not fewer, resources to deal with the challenges of the 21st century.

UK being 'too complacent' over internet crimes

The UK is being "too complacent" about online criminal activity because the victims are hidden in cyberspace, the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee said today, after it issued a warning that the country was "losing the war on internet crime".

Labour MP Keith Vaz said:

The threat of a cyber attack to the UK is so serious it is marked as a higher threat than a nuclear attack.

You can steal more on the internet than you can by robbing a bank and online criminals in 25 countries have chosen the UK as their number one target. Astonishingly, some are operating from EU countries.

If we don't have a 21st century response to this 21st century crime, we will be letting those involved in these gangs off the hook.

UK is 'losing the war against internet crime'

The UK is losing the war against internet crime, an influential group of MPs has warned. Despite being the preferred target of online criminals in 25 countries, the UK is still "complacent" towards e-crime as victims are "hidden in cyberspace", the Home Affairs Select Committee said.

UK is 'losing the war against internet crime'. Credit: Adam Peck/PA Wire

The group of MPs said sufficient funding and resources for tackling online crime, which includes Identity theft, industrial espionage, credit card fraud and child exploitation, has not been allocated.

Tougher sentences for online criminals and improved training for police officers are recommended by the Committee to deal with the growing threat of cyber criminality.

Suspected cyber criminal arrested in south London

Police arrested a 28-year-old man suspected of committing cyber crimes in the Croydon area of London this morning.

The arrest is part of an ongoing investigation into the distribution of malware designed to capture the user's personal details to make fraudulent transactions.

Officers from specialist cyber crime units in the Metropolitan Police and Serious Organised Crime Agency took the suspect to a south London Police Station for questioning.

His computer and other electronic equipment were also seized for examination.

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