Police step up fight against cybercrime

Police are making use of print and broadcast media as well as social media to warn people of tactics that crooks use to cheat them on the Internet.

Also, the authorities will work with agencies outside Singapore to crack down on these cyber criminals.

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli set out these measures in Parliament yesterday for countering the surge in cybercrime in Singapore.

The number of cases of online crime in the first six months of this year more than tripled to 787, up from 187 in the same period last year.

This, said Mr Masagos, could be partly due to greater public awareness and people being more willing to report these crimes.

He was replying to Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC) and Ms Irene Ng (Tampines GRC) on measures the Ministry of Home Affairs is taking to curb cybercrime.

"A key strategy to reduce the number of online crimes is to raise public awareness and vigilance," said Mr Masagos, adding that the police are working with other groups to educate the public on these crimes.

For instance, the police are working with major local banks DBS/POSB, United Overseas Bank and OCBC to put up crime prevention advisories on their Internet banking websites by the end of the year.

Cases of online purchase and identity theft scams will also be highlighted in upcoming episodes of local TV series CrimeWatch.

Meanwhile, the police and the National Crime Prevention Council have come up with public education materials on cybercrime to put online and on bus stop panels and at MRT stations.

Prevention, said Mr Masagos, is the best way to tackle online crime. He said: "The people who are using all these mediums must be always aware that they can be victims of cybercrime."

As many of these crooks are located overseas, the authorities are also working closely with international agencies. "Our own forces in the police have had to upgrade themselves to understand the nature of these crimes, how they are perpetrated, including working with their foreign counterparts," said Mr Masagos.

He cited the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore, which will house the global police agency's first centralised cybercrime data centre when it opens next year.

"We work together with international organisations like Interpol to make sure we have a bigger global view of the issue, not just about what's happening in Singapore," said Mr Masagos.

asyiqins@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on September 09, 2014.
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