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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cybercrime agency faces cuts as computer raid threats grow

Staff cuts at the government agency that tackles cybercrime will leave British businesses vulnerable to attack from criminals and industrial espionage, experts say.  It has emerged that the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), formed last year, will have to shed up to 400 staff when the Home Office announces its policing budget this week.  The move, which experts say lessened Britains defences, went ahead despite evidence that web-based threats to companies were escalting.  Research released yesterday by Finjan, a web security company, highlighted an increased volume of cyber attacks on British companies from China.

In particular, Finjan investigated an attack that used zero-day exploits - malicious software for which there are no security patches - that was designed to steal confidential information.

On Saturday, The Times disclosed that the Director-General of MI5 had written to businessmen with a warning that they were being attacked by Chinese cyberspies.  Ian Brown, of Oxford University, a cyber-espionage expert, said that British businesses were more vulnerable than they need to be because of the merger and planned job cuts.  Critics say that leaves cybercrime and web-based industrial espionage too far down the agenda.

Posted on 12/04