How GDS is trying to protect us all from ID-related criminality

Scheme’s Counter-Fraud and Threat Intelligence team shares details of how it works to counter identity-enabled/identity-dependent crime and fraud

Posted 23 April 2019 by

The UK government has initiated a number of ways to try and head off the danger of traditional criminal activity supported by the misuse of personal identity – for example identity theft, as well as identity-dependent crime that only be committed by the misuse of such personal identity.

The reason – apart from the obvious threat to citizens? The annual loss to the taxpayer of between £1bn and £4bn a year – an issue that Whitehall says means must continually evolve and grow any and all security measures need to to counter ID-related crime.

This means, its authors state, “By spotting fraudulent transactions early, we save the government money and we protect our users.”

The news came via a fresh post on the Government Digital Service (GDS)’s website just before the Easter break, where four main pillars of the strategy were outlined:

Working with the cyber security community 

GDS’s Counter-Fraud and Threat Intelligence team, which sits in the wider Verify function, says it has has formed an Identity Misuse Group on the National Cyber Security Centre’s Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP) platform. That means that anyone working in not just government but industry, too, that’s interested in preventing identity misuse can join the group via CiSP’s website and request to register their organisation if not already a member. 

Learning from academia 

The post – ‘Keeping GOV.UK Verify secure from identity crime and fraud’ also says the team has created a special Identity Risks and Identity Standards Consortium made up of leading UK academic institutions and chaired by Professor Tim Watson from the University of Warwick. This group holds quarterly meetings to share knowledge and expertise. 

Collaborating across government

The post goes on to state that, “It is important that we work across government to make sure we counter shared threats and ensure security information is shared with relevant departments.”

In practical terms, that means collaboration through workshops and meetings with specialists in other government organisations: “We ran one such workshop earlier this month [and] attendees included staff from central government departments and a wide range of public sector organisations.”

Sharing our knowledge with the Verify programme  

And finally, as part of the overall Verify programme, the Counter-Fraud and Threat Intelligence team says it is getting insights from our colleagues working at GDS – plus, this team of specialised identity crime and identity fraud experts can in turn “feed back information into the government’s identity standards, which helps make them as robust as possible”.

The post concludes by noting that the use of Digital Identity will increase as GOV.UK Verify is opened up to the private sector.

If you’d like to learn more about what that might mean, you might want to register well in advance for our upcoming (June 7) Think Digital Identity for Government 2019 event in Westminster – where just how that opening up will be explored: go here for the latest details on the agenda, and here to register, a place that’s free for you if you are a qualified public sector professional.