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After many years of denying that a digital crime problem actually existed in the UK (and by inference, the rest of the world), it is gratifying to see the UK police strive to engage with the modern onslaught of new wave crime and its related abuse – albeit a little late in the day.

It is also encouraging to appreciate the statement made by Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh who commented:

“In the last twenty years, crime has undergone a change more significant and fundamental than we’ve ever experienced before. We’ve always adapted to changing trends in crime but with over 80 per cent of adults in the UK now regularly using the internet it is not just the types of crime that have changed; it’s the entire world in which we have to fight them.”

What really concerns me here is the fact that evolution and transformation of crime over the last two decades had to reach a point of significant financial and human impact before it was deemed to attract the required level of entry point funding to look to dent the armour of the digital criminal fraternity.

In fact, if we lift the stone off the problem, and look to what has actually been put in place to fight the evil dark shadow of the digital criminals, you will notice it is only in the last five years which has enjoyed any real semblance of recognition, and action come on line.

The problem we now face here is that this policing mission is now trying to catch up with highly effective operations, which are based on high levels of skill, proven capabilities, and the associated CV that boasts a proven track record of achievement – but as I said, the fact that we are starting to see some serious interest shown is encouraging.

scott and baileySo, with the above police movement going in the right direction, let us consider another angle. It was on the 13 May 2016 when I was far more encouraged by a UK TV dramatization of the police in action called ‘Scott & Bailey’ – but why?

The real benefit of this TV programme for me was the introduction of the ‘digital’ element of crime to the prime-time screen viewing public, introducing the wide range of the onlookers to terminology like the ‘Dark/Deep Web,’ the implication of legislation relating to the sharing of certain categories of images, and other elements of the adversities of the digital world – which we are all potentially targeted by each day of our connected lives.

This in my opinion provides the positive double-edge sword of entertainment – delivering to the viewing subscribers a highly effective, yet subliminal, level of security education and awareness that even the most expensively polished corporate education security awareness programme may fail to achieve.

My ultimate conclusion here is, we as a society at risk should be gratified that we are now seeing the digital aspect of crime entering the front-of-desk conversation of the UK police force; and I am hopeful this recognition will morph into the tangible increase in investment enabling the police person on patrol to be a much more tech savvy officer when they attend new age styles of crime.

However, I am also a believer in proactive security, as opposed to the over exercised use of the reactive approach post the manifestation and impact of a digital crime – a proactive which can be achieved by more exposure in the public domain to the digital risk, and though the benefit of the subliminal streams of education which may be realised out of dramatized media being brought right into the front room of the viewing public.

Interestingly enough, and as spooky as it may be, whilst writing this article I received a call from a UK television channel ITV, who wish to do an interview on the subject of “trolling,” giving even more encouragement that we are now starting to see the digital message driven home to the vox pop.

At the end of the day, the facts of life are, no matter corporate, hospital, school, or individual, all such entities are under the constant and watchful eye of the digital criminal.

Thus, this imposition must surely dictate that the most important element of attempting to reduce any manifestation of realising a security impact must be though a combined effort of effective digital policing, underpinned by proactive channels of security education in all forms (direct, and subliminal) to at least attempt to reduce the accessibility to the current openness of the exposed public surface of attack.


Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.

Title image courtesy of ShutterStock