NCA and BAE Systems team up for online child porn cyber operation

The NCA worked with 45 police forces across the UK to arrest 660 suspected paedophiles

The NCA has used mysterious new technology to mount a co-ordinated sting operation that has already seen it arrest 660 suspected paedophiles.

The NCA announced the operation in a statement on Wednesday. The six-month operation saw the NCA co-ordinate with 45 police forces across the UK as well as a number of companies.

The NCA said it used advanced new technologies to co-ordinate the operation and track the suspected paedophiles, but declined to offer firm details about the tactics used.

NCA deputy director general Phil Gormley said the the agency is not disclosing details about the new technology as it plans to use the tools again in the very near future.

“This is the first time the UK has had the capability to co-ordinate a single targeted operation of this nature. Over the past six months we have seen unprecedented levels of co-operation to deliver this result,” he said.

“We want those offenders to know that the internet is not a safe anonymous space for accessing indecent images, that they leave a digital footprint, and that law enforcement will find it.”

Technology firm BAE Systems is known to have played a pivotal role in creating the technology used in the operation.

Managing director of BAE Systems Applied Intelligence Martin Sutherland said as well as offering the NCA use of its advanced data analytics systems and services, the company also developed several new custom tools to help the police.

“We managed and exploited the vast amount of data associated with the operation so that officers could act faster on the information they had, increasing the speed in which they could identify and safeguard the victims and arrest the offenders and also demonstrating how data analytics can be used to identify and prevent criminal activity,” he explained.

“Various bespoke, custom tools and processes have been developed during the course of this operation to help with everything from the initial child protection risk assessment of the intelligence to the automated generation of dissemination packages to local police forces across the UK.”

Sutherland listed the operation as an example of how increased collaboration between the public and private sector can help combat cyber crime.

“To date this pro-bono support has saved the NCA the equivalent of over 10 man years of effort. This is an ongoing operation and we will continue to provide assistance to help safeguard even more children and identify more offenders,” he said.

“The project builds on BAE Systems’ commitment to public safety and security, and is an excellent demonstration of how government agencies and private businesses can work together for the public interest.”

Increasing collaboration between the public and private sector has been an ongoing goal of the UK’s Cyber Security Strategy. The strategy launched in 2011 and has seen the government fund several initiatives designed to increase collaboration, including the 2013 launch of the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP).

The GCHQ promised to share cyber threat intelligence and “select” intellectual property with wider industry, in a bid to aid the government’s plans on 17 July.

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Source: v3.co.uk
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