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Press release

Engineers call for the UK to redouble its efforts to tackle e-crime

24 April 2013


A three-fold initiative is required to re-energise the UK approach to e-crime according to the Engineering the Future (EtF) alliance, which gave evidence to the Home Affairs Committee yesterday. Professor Jim Norton, FREng FBCS FIET, represented EtF at the witness session on of e-crime.

Jim Norton, a member of the IET IT Policy Panel, explained that three lines of attack are required, first to contain, and then to reduce the incidence of e-crime.  These are:

• Education – informing the Internet user community, across the generations, of best practice along with training as to how to recognise the threats and risks to be avoided.
• Software Quality – improving availability and knowledge of the methods that can be utilised by developers and system administrators to prevent defective software being created or used.
• Law Enforcement – Strengthening the ability of law enforcement agencies to both capture and proactively pursue instigators of e-crime both at home and abroad, thus improving respect and confidence in the broader community.  

The alliance believes that educating the public and creating a co-ordinated approach among involved parties is key to preventing e-crime. EtF believes that the current national initiatives, such as Get Safe Online, whilst well intentioned appear to have been largely ineffective.

Jim adds: “Get Safe Online was an excellent concept which was well implemented, however, it has not been widely promoted and there is little evidence that it has achieved significant engagement with the citizen or commerce. There need to be new ongoing initiatives that are co-ordinated, comprehensive and educational aimed at changing peoples’ online behaviours by increasing awareness and creating a safety conscious online society. Although, the main source of risk is not, as widely claimed, unsafe behaviour by computer users but, rather, the design flaws and programming errors that make normal, reasonable behaviour unsafe.”

The full EtF submission to the Home Affairs committee can be found at: 

http://www.engineeringthefuture.co.uk/government/pdf/E_Crime_Inquiry.pdf

Media enquiries to:

Robert Beahan
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7595 400912
Email: rbeahan@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • Engineering the Future: Engineering the Future (EtF), is an alliance of the engineering institutions and professional bodies led by The Royal Academy of Engineering. It includes: Royal Academy of Engineering working together with Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
  • EtF was established as a way to provide high quality coordinated engineering advice and evidence to government. EtF undertakes a broad range of policy projects, submissions to consultations and calls for evidence and topic based events.
  • The key partners involved in leading this workstream were The IET and BCS.