eBay: e-crime cops latest recruit

Data thieves going, going gone?

Data thieves going, going gone?

The UK's new e-crime unit is already collecting criminal intelligence reports from eBay in an effort to help stamp out fraud and data theft targeting the auctioneer.

eBay is feeding information on fraudulent activity on its site to the Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU) in order to help the unit prepare investigations and improve intelligence into criminal behaviour.

The link-up will allow police to provide "a quicker response" to larger-scale frauds against the auction giant's users, according to architect of the PCeU, detective superintendent Charlie McMurdie.

McMurdie indicated that the National Fraud Reporting Centre (NFRC), set to launch later this year, will share similar information with eBay.

Speaking at the ISPA Parliamentary Advisory Forum on E-Crime in Westminster this week, McMurdie said: "As a forerunner to the NFRC starting up we are already taking packages direct from eBay.

"This will allow us to look at how they can collate this intelligence together and hand it over to us, so we can take on these cases and put into place a bit of a quicker response than we would have done previously.

"The cases where you have got 50 or 200 victims all having been defrauded, scammed or having their data compromised by the same suspect - that is the sort of case we will be working on."

The PCeU will only have about 30 staff, so much of its role will be taking e-crime reports from the NFRC - which will be run by City of London Police - and helping to share that intelligence with separate regional centres of high-tech policing, expected to be created later this year.

The centres will be made up of computer crime specialists from local forces and so far the staff set to work for them have been selected in about five regions, according to McMurdie.

The PCeU itself will only investigate cybercrimes "that have a national impact on the UK", according to McMurdie - for example, incidents where more than 10,000 people have had their identities stolen online or electronic attacks on computer systems used by critical national infrastructure, such as power stations.