Cyber crime team to fight criminals who attack HMRC

Accountants may be interested to learn that HMRC has launched a new cyber crime team to deal with organised tax fraud.

Cyber criminals are finding more sophisticated ways of targeting the Revenue’s repayment systems and the Government hopes this new team will protect it from attacks. The team will protect both taxpayers and HMRC and builds on the Revenue’s current investigation and intelligence work as well as its capability to counter cyber fraud.

The National Cyber Security Programme will fund the technology, and HMRC is hiring high calibre analysts, investigators and technical experts to run the team. Specialist forensic tools will be used to exploit intelligence and these will give HMRC a better awareness of possible threats. The team will provide expert advice on security, provide HMRC’s criminal investigators with technical expertise and present security and operational risk teams with real-time intelligence.

The exchequer secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, explained that as HMRC moves more of its systems online, cyber criminals look for ways to attack its systems. The department is already getting ahead of the game and last year shut down around 1,000 bogus websites after customers reported receiving emails telling them they were entitled to income tax rebates.

The Government allocated £917 million from the spending review specifically so that HMRC could tackle tax avoidance, evasion and fraud. It is hoped that this money will raise an extra £7 billion a year by 2014/15. In addition to the cyber crime team, the Revenue will be using more technology to put an end to criminal behaviour in real time.

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