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Phishing - Where Politicians fail

Following on from yesterday's 'Phishing' announcement from Microsoft (opens in new tab), Silicon reports (opens in new tab)Interpol's complaint that Police forces around the world are being starved of financial and human resources to fight a growing number of crimes on the internet.

Speaking on Monday at an anti-phishing conference in Brussels, Bernhard Otupal, crime intelligence officer for Interpol's financial and hi-tech crime unit, said politicians are unaware of the ways criminals are using technology to steal money.

He said: "It's a huge problem. I think the responsible politicians are not aware of the problem. They are not putting resources into it.

There are not enough trained people in the police who know how to deal with the internet and find information.

"The problem is that these [governments] put up computer crime units and feel that is enough. They do not see changes in technology or the need for updates."

Interpol is a police organisation that helps forces around the world to share each others' data to catch criminals. It does not have the power to make arrests but with the rise of internet crime has become an important channel for international police forces in reducing the time it takes to arrest suspects in other countries.

In becoming part of the Serious Organised Crime Agency on 1 April this year, the UK's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit is pooling its resources to make fighting computer crime a regular part of hunting criminals, Otupal said.

But he added that police response times are too slow as some forces are undermanned and the organised crime gangs which they are up against have access to more money.

He said: "[Criminals] don't need more money because they have stolen credit cards. There are not enough trained people [in the police] who know how to deal with the internet and find information. It would have to be a common effort with private industry - the problem is that law enforcement is not allowed to partner private industry."

Otupal added that new legislation is making it tougher for online scammers to operate but there are still a number of countries in Europe and the rest of the world that are failing to stop them altogether.

He said: "It is getting easier for law enforcement. Countries are adopting new legislation and the number of safe houses is decreasing," highlighting one gang that moved a phishing website to 25 different countries in one day to avoid detection.