Switzerland’s internet police unit says that it is making progress combating cyber crime, with the number of cases reported remaining high.
The Swiss Coordination Unit for Cybercrime Control (Cyco) said on Thursday that its priority remained to clamp down on child pornography.
Cyco said it dealt with 6,097 reports from the public last year, compared with 6,457 in 2003 – the first year of its operation. This amounted to roughly 500 complaints a month.
"As in 2003... the messages registered in 2004 mainly concerned spam mail, closely followed by hardcore pornography," said Cyco in a statement.
Phishing, whereby confidential data is taken from unsuspecting internet users, was also a major concern among surfers last year.
Cyco said that there had been a fourfold increase in the number of complaints that had been transferred to cantonal police forces for further action. A further 171 cases were handed over to Interpol. Most of these cases concerned child pornography and sexual violence.
The unit also said it was concerned about the incidence of sexual "grooming" of children by adults in internet chatrooms.
It said that in 2004 it had been "regularly confronted with serious abuses committed in discussion forums".
Cyco added that for this year its campaign against child pornography, which was launched in 2004, would remain a priority.
It also welcomed the fact that an extra monitoring post would be created after Zurich, the only canton not involved in the unit, joins in the summer. This would also help it step up its fight against child pornography.
Cyco has been operational since 2003 and is staffed by police officers, lawyers, internet security specialists and criminologists. It is charged with stamping out websites with illegal content that have a link to Switzerland.
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Cyco was set up in 2003.
It is financed by the government and the cantons.
Its job is to gather information on internet crime and transmit it to the appropriate cantonal or international authorities.
In 2004, 500 complaints per month were made to Cyco.
438 cases were handed over to the cantons; 171 to Interpol.
Spam: Unsolicited advertisement and junk e-mails.
Phishing: A hybrid between password and fishing. Attempts are made to gather confidential data, such as bank account details, from an unknowing internet user.
Pyramid schemes: Offer a return on a financial investment based on the number of new recruits to the scheme.
In compliance with the JTI standards