Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Pandemic cyber crime trends now business as usual among offenders, officer warns


Cyber crime trends that gained pace during the pandemic while people spent more time online are now “business as usual” among offenders, a senior investigative officer has warned.

Matt Horne, deputy director of investigations at the National Crime Agency (NCA), said the Covid-19 outbreak saw a rise in the exploitation of crypto-assets to launder money which has continued to grow.

Criminals also exploited the increased number of people at home and using the internet by turning to technology as a way to gain access to businesses and personal information.

Speaking at the International Security Expo, an event in London’s Olympia bringing together the global security community, Mr Horne warned law enforcement will get “left behind” unless it keeps up with the rapidly changing landscape.

He said: “Serious organised crime is chronic and corrosive. (It) kills more people in the UK than terrorism, war and natural disasters combined.”

“We are responding by pushing our own operational work more upstream, overseas and online into areas policing cannot so easily reach,” Mr Horne added.

“As technologies become increasingly complex, law enforcement and our partners must bolster our understanding of how we turn them to our advantage.

“We must pool our resources and focus on a whole-system, collaborative approach, or else we run the risk of being left behind.”

Latest NCA figures show there are an estimated 70,000 known nominals engaged in serious organised crime in the UK, and up to 850,000 people posing a sexual risk to children – statistics which Mr Horne described as “staggering”.

The agency’s latest assessment also confirmed the shift toward online offending, which represents more than half of all reported crime including child sexual abuse and fraud, he said.

Matt Horne
Matt Horne (Niall Carson/PA)

Mr Horne said: “Last year’s assessment showed that the overall threat (of serious organised crime), having dipped slightly during Covid-19, now exceeds pre-pandemic levels.

“Throughout, criminals demonstrated the ability to adapt to a shifting landscape to exploit new opportunities to circumvent restrictions.

“Many of the adaptations instigated in the earlier stages of the pandemic, such as an increased use of crypto-assets, are now pretty much ‘business as usual’ for organised crime, and our assessments previously revealed that the scale of organised crime is actually increasing, as its complexity.”

He added: “Over the last few years we’ve seen offenders take advantage of people being at home and online more with technology being their favoured route into people’s homes and businesses.

“As criminals expand their capabilities, in law enforcement we must be agile to identify and maximise technological opportunities and threats.”