Met chief warns of broadband crime boost

PC crime

Fibre broadband introduction in the UK will present cyber criminals with "a huge opportunity," a police chief has warned.

Sir Paul Stephenson, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, wrote in The Daily Telegraph that whilst next-generation connections would boost the nation's economy, gangsters would also be able to reap the rewards from improved speeds.

Stephenson also pointed to the growing problem of cyber crime in the country, suggesting criminal gangs may soon hire their own software writers to steal funds over the internet.

"There is a risk that cyber crime will become their main source of cash flow. The modern Tony Soprano-style crime lord will have a cyber expert on hand," Stephenson said.

"Like a number of other major nations, we may find ourselves victims of our technological progress."

He also called for continued support of specialist units such as the Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU).

"Some commentators argue that we should concentrate on uniformed policing and draw back from specialised work that could be done by others. Leave cyber crime to the banks and retailers to sort out, the argument runs," Stephenson added.

"It is a fundamentally misguided argument."

UK authorities have been working both at home and with law enforcement across the world, recently helping make arrests as part of Operation Trident Breach.

The collective effort, run in coordination with the FBI and authorities from the Netherlands and Ukraine, disrupted a cyber crime ring thought to have acquired $70 million (44.3 million) from victims' bank accounts.

Five arrests were made in Ukraine of suspects thought to be key players in the scheme.

PCeU officers also recently arrested 19 people in the UK suspected of using the Zeus Trojan to steal millions from bank accounts.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.