NewsCrime World

Tech-savvy paedophiles posing challenge in child porn fight

Tech-savvy paedophiles posing challenge in child porn fight

Younger and "more technologically astute" paedophiles are emerging as a challenge in efforts to tackle the spread of indecent images online, the National Crime Agency has warned.

Offenders are said to be using services such as the dark web or encryption in attempts to avoid detection.

The NCA - known as Britain's FBI - highlighted the trend in its annual threat assessment of serious and organised crime.

"We are seeing the emergence of younger and more technologically astute offenders using online services, such as the dark web, to protect their anonymity," the report said.

"The use of encryption together with general technological advancement, continue to pose challenges to law enforcement's reactive and proactive capabilities to trace offenders."

The proliferation of indecent images of children online has continued, the study said.

The NCA's Child Sexual Exploitation Referral Bureau now receives more than 1,800 referrals a month, compared with 400 a month in 2010.

Elsewhere, the assessment warned that a move to largely paperless online processes in the financial sector and other public services is likely to provide greater opportunities for criminals to commit fraud using false or abused documents.

As online processes are strengthened in reaction to this, higher quality false documents are likely to become more valuable, with greater profit coming from their production or acquisition, the report said.

Other findings included:

:: There are indications of a considerable increase in the use of encrypted communications by criminals across all threat areas;

:: Increasing numbers of migrants are turning to people smugglers for all or part of their journey into and across Europe, and on to the UK;

:: As security around borders increases, organised people smuggling and trafficking targeting the UK will grow through clandestine activity and use of false documents.

NCA director-general Lynne Owens said: "The threat from serious and organised crime continues to evolve and has done so over the last year in ways that have attracted considerable and understandable public attention.

"The National Strategic Assessment provides us with a very solid understanding of the threat from serious and organised crime for the year ahead, as we work together to have the maximum impact on the criminals damaging the UK and its interests overseas."