Feeds

Hi-tech cops lose their website

Forget to re-register did we?

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The lapsed website of the UK's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit has been snapped up by an opportunistic German marketeer.

Up until recently nhtcu.org redirected to the official website of Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). SOCA was created in April 2006 with the merger of the National Crime Squad, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU).

NHTCU became SOCA's e-crime division, and its former website was redirected to the official SOCA site. But recently this registration was allowed to lapse allowing a German marketeer Uwe Matt of digitalsuccess.biz to buy the domain on 2 August.

German marketeer lays towel on nhtcu website

The change was picked up by Graham Cluley, a security consultant at Sophos, in following a link from a BBC story about moves to extradite accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon. The site contained pictures of surveillance cameras and an odd tale about the splendid security performance of a German hotel earlier this week, Cluley reports.

The content of the site has since been changed to include a link back to the SOCA website, though not an automatic redirection. At no point did the site host malware. The German marketeer who bought the site claims his intentions are strictly honourable.

"We have no fixed intentions for this domain at present and would welcome any ideas or suggestions about how it might be best used," the site's new owner (digitalsuccess.biz) states.

Many organisations still link to the nhtcu.org site, presenting it as a source of information on the fight against cybercrime. Between 2001 and 2006 NHTCU had considerable success in bringing a motley crew of would-be cyberblaggers and phishing fraudsters to justice (malware authors were handled by Scotland Yard's cybercrime division). This work led media outlets, computer security firms and British government departments to link to the NHTCU.org site.

Sophos speculates that Matt may have bought the site simply in order to snap up a domain with a high search engine ranking at a bargain price. The concern is that there is nothing to stop the sale of the domain to someone with more nefarious designs.

Cluley suggests its new owners would do well to donate the site back to SOCA. We've relayed this suggestion to digitalsuccess.biz and await its response with interest. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.