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Date:08/07/11

Hi-tech crime agencies set to employ information security professionals

Law enforcers in the UK may soon look to formalise ongoing relationships with information security professionals by offering permanent or temporary secondment positions within their ranks, in an attempt to boost their skill levels, according to the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance (ICSPA).
Speaking to V3.co.uk at the launch of the organisation, set up to help boost the capacity and capabilities of law enforcement agencies worldwide, ICSPA chief executive John Lyons explained that many information security professionals already have close working relationships with the police. "But we haven't yet gone to industry and said: 'Why not take a network security specialist, bring him into the [law enforcement] organisation, and give him a special constable role?'," he said.
"I think we'll get to this point sooner rather than later. There is already close collaboration on investigations but they are loose arrangements." Lyons, who has held roles with the former National Hi-tech Crime Unit, argued that one arrangement could see information security experts placed on three-year secondments with law enforcement bodies such as the Police Central eCrime Unit or the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
Any candidates would be subject to strict vetting and confidentiality guidelines, he added. The need for additional industry expertise to boost the ranks of cyber crime agencies is necessary because of the limited numbers of fully trained officers and the lengthy training required to get them fully cyber literate, said Lyons. He explained that it can take 12 to 18 months for an officer wishing to apply for a role in a hi-tech crime unit to become fully operational. Eddy Willems, data security evangelist at security vendor G Data, told V3.co.uk that he welcomed any initiatives which "form closer bonds between law enforcement agencies and the security industry".
Rik Ferguson, security research director at Trend Micro, explained that all major anti-virus companies already have formal relationships with law enforcement, but that the broader and deeper relationships between police and security professionals envisaged by Lyons are not out of the question. Mark Darvill, director at AEP Networks, also backed any moves designed to foster greater co-operation between law enforcement and the security community. "Cyber crime isn't restricted by international boundaries so our preventative measures shouldn't be either," he told V3.co.uk.
"Governments and international law enforcement agencies need to work together with the security industry, to present a united front and make sure that the most advanced security solutions are deployed to protect national intelligence."



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