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European Cybercrime Centre: One Year On

cybercrimeLast month the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) celebrated its first anniversary and with that its successes in tackling online crime.

The main task of EC3 is to disrupt the operations of organised crime networks that commit serious and organised cybercrime, part of which is the on-going problem of payment fraud.

EC3 is currently providing operational and analytical support to 16 investigations regarding payment fraud, while in 2013 it supported investigations that resulted in the dismantling of three different international networks relating to credit card fraud:

  • One operation led to the arrest of 29 suspects who had made a 9 million Euro profit by compromising the payment credentials of 30,000 credit card holders.
  • The second network that was tackled resulted in a total of 59 arrests across several Member States, the dismantling of two illegal workshops for producing devices and software to manipulate Point-of-Sale terminals, and the seizure of illegal electronic equipment, financial data, cloned cards, and cash. The group had apparently affected around 36.000 bank/credit card holders in 16 European countries.
  • The third operation targeted an Asian network responsible for illegal transactions and the purchasing of airline tickets. Two members of the network, travelling on false documents, were arrested at Helsinki airport and around 15,000 compromised credit card numbers were found on seized computers. The network had apparently been using card details stolen from cardholders worldwide, with the losses to European card holders and banks amounting to over 70,000 euros.

A further operation against a group who used fraudulent credit cards to purchase airline tickets was coordinated by the EC3 in 38 airports from 16 European countries. During the operation, more than 200 suspicious transactions were reported by the industry and 43 individuals were arrested (followed by another 74 arrests after the action day; 117 arrests in total).

These were all found to be linked to other criminal activities, such as the distribution of credit card data via the internet, intrusions into financial institutions’ databases, other suspicious transactions, drug trafficking, human smuggling, counterfeit documents including IDs, and other types of fraud. 

The cases are good examples of the way in which frauds involving the internet are increasing. But the technical nature of online and computer fraud means investigations, and prosecutions, are often lengthy and drawn out. It also means that defending charges of this nature requires expert advice from solicitors at the cutting edge of IT and internet law.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

If you have been charged in connection with online fraud and require specialist legal advice, please contact our solicitors Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

This blog post is intended as a news item only - no connection between Lewis Nedas and the parties concerned is intended or implied.

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Cybercrime: What to Expect in 2014 - by Miles Herman

cybercrimeIt was widely reported towards the end of 2013 that Scotland Yard are to significantly expand their E-Crime Unit to help tackle the ever-increasing problems of internet fraud and cyber-attacks by dedicated cyber-criminals.

It has long been a theme of policing that money, and there is of course less of it to go around, has steadily been diverted away from established areas of law enforcement such as burglary, drug dealing and anti-social behaviour and towards computer based criminal conduct.

With computer crime an ever-rising threat, the specialist E-Crime Unit will be faced with increasing challenges during this year and beyond to tackle criminals targeting computer systems in the UK. Attacks from terrorists and sophisticated malware designers to low-level fraudsters are all being targeted in this ever-developing area of police work.

So how successful have the E-Crime Unit been? Certainly, in 2013, a number of successful prosecutions were brought with the aid of specialist prosecutors, and there are many more cases in the pipeline. That said, the fast pace and development of cybercrime has resulted very much in the police playing catch up. Privately, they concede that although they have made major progress in combatting crime of this nature in recent times, but there is still much work to be done.

The level of sophistication used by cyber-criminals is a concern for police and law enforcement agencies around the world. At Lewis Nedas Law, we have been at the forefront of defending individuals charged with interception of communications, and the spreading of malware through personal computer systems as well as banking and other institutions.

Of course, those involved in computer crime are aware that the courts are coming down ever more heavily in terms of sentences and, certainly, those sentences are reflective of the current mood amongst the judiciary of those involved in criminal activity of this nature.

For all users many dangers are abound in 2014, certainly malware, will evolve and, as members of the public and institutions alike become ever more dependent on portable devices such as smartphones and tablets, the malware market will be designed to attack such devices.

Ransomware is also often used by criminals, with outlandish scare tactics aimed at deceiving individuals into parting with money for fear of being exposed on the internet if they do not.

What is certain, as the police become mobilised to combat computer crime and more resources are dedicated to the E-Crime unit, at the same time those responsible for such activity are already developing methods and systems to evade detection.

Lewis Nedas Lawyers for Cybercrime

If you are affected by cybercrime, or are accused of any offences relating to the internet, computers or portable devices, then we at Lewis Nedas Law are specialist lawyers in handling such matters for you. Please contact us either by telephone on 0207 387 2032 or by completing our online enquiry form here.

Miles Herman is currently instructed in a high publicity internet fraud case involving the theft of over £1 million. He has also successfully represented a number of individuals facing cybercrime offences and the unauthorised interception of communication cases.

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New Instructions for LNL Fraud Lawyers

  1. Jeffrey Lewis has been asked to advise and represent an individual facing a SOCA money laundering investigation into the nightclub industry.

  2. Miles Herman is representing an individual facing a large scale internet fraud and another facing an interesting prosecution concerning allegations of diamond fraud.

  3. Keith Wood has been instructed in a property money laundering allegation in North Wales and advises another client facing a serious conspiracy to defraud investigation in East Anglia.
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A Defence Lawyer’s Perspective on Cyber Crime – by Miles Herman

It has long been the case that businesses, particularly within the banking sector, and the public at large have been under the attack from cyber criminals. Recent cases have shown the level of sophistication employed by those intent on profiting through criminal activity over the internet and online services have resulted in the Government rethinking its strategy to combat criminal activity of this nature.

As recently as November of last year, the Prime Minister stated that cyber security is a top priority for this government and within the global approach to tackling this ever increasing problem, the Government is committed to expanding the use of ‘cyber specialists’ to help police tackle cyber crime and create a Cyber Crime Unit within the National Crime Agency by 2013.

Many of those involved in the Criminal Justice System would have read with interest the comments by Richard Clarke, the Home Office Security and Counter-Terrorism Department Director, who has warned that cyber crime is now as great a threat as terrorism to the UK’s national security.

But what are the levels of success in tackling cyber criminal organizations thus far? Well, the answer to this will not be known for some time. There can be little doubt that to date the individuals operating towards the high end of cyber criminal activity have been on top. So far, there have been very few prosecutions concerning the activities of individuals that police believe are instrumental in how sustained criminal attacks are taking place online and over the internet.

One such prosecution was ‘Operation Crossbill’, which resulted in a number of defendants pleading guilty and receiving sentences ranging from two to five years. It is apparent from the nature of this investigation in which Lewis Nedas Law received instructions from two defendants (one of whom was acquitted following trial and was the only defendant to avoid custody), that prosecutions of this nature will become more frequent, more focused and will require a particular level of specialised knowledge in affording those accused of criminal activity expert representation.

Arising from this prosecution, one of the first of its type, a team of officers were tasked with investigating a group of individuals who were concerned with the control of a complex network of domains, command and control servers and associated malicious programmes directed at the promotion of fraud through the internet.

The investigation involved a complex picture of international computer-based criminality and it was claimed during the case that the individuals concerned were close to those capable of writing malicious codes.

It was apparent throughout my representation of two defendants in this matter that police believed conduct of this nature is now becoming the preferred method for international organized criminal networks. It is anticipated that cyber criminal activity of this and of a similar nature will readily be preferred by those deterred by the high risks that criminal involvement such as the importation of drugs or people trafficking pose.

The sentences handed down in this case (subject to appeal) and, it is anticipated, in future cases, tend to demonstrate that the Court propose to crack down on this type of activity and therefore those who are engaged or suspected of being engaged in criminal conduct of this nature require specialist advice from an early stage.

Lewis Nedas Law is an organization that can help those being investigated and/or charged with any criminal offences relating to the internet and online services. We have specialist knowledge of how these cases are prosecuted and are able to give concise, expert, and direct advice on all matters relating to cases of this nature.

Given the high-level stakes that are involved in cases being prosecuted to date and certainly, from now on, those under suspicion or facing charges, cannot afford to receive anything other than specialist advice.

The level of investigation and detection will only increase significantly over the coming months and years and Lewis Nedas Law, with specialist computer-based fraud experts and expert witnesses on hand to provide specialist reports and guidance, can assist any of those facing an enquiry by the police, any other investigative agency and/or prosecution through the courts.

Our organization is able to provide the required assistance from investigations until trial in addition to a strong and able team of solicitors. We employ specialist counsel on cases of this nature. Jeremy Ornstin, Senior Advocate of this practice was instructed in Operation Crossbill and was instrumental in the settling of a favourable basis plea for one of the defendants.

Please contact Miles Herman, Jeffrey Lewis.

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