The University of Southampton

Southampton launches partnership to address intermixing of cryptocurrency and cyber crime

Published: 1 April 2019
(l-r) Keynote speakers DCS Jess Wadsworth and Mark Spearing with Collaboration Manager Sarah Martin.

Cyber security experts from the University of Southampton have joined forces with the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) to tackle the evolving use of cryptocurrencies in criminal activities.

Over 200 representatives from law enforcement agencies, government and academia met for a cryptocurrency masterclass at Southampton Science Park's AXIS Conference Centre in a formal launch of the partnership with the Cyber Security Academy.

Virtual currencies are being used in increasing quantities on domains such as the dark web, requiring new approaches and legislation to be enacted by police authorities. The cryptocurrency masterclass drew upon best practice and expertise from a range of speakers to prepare attendees for this new challenge.

Professor Vladimiro Sassone, Director of the Cyber Security Academy, said: "It is important that academia and law enforcement agencies come together to apply the latest outcomes from the UK's research and innovation. I am delighted to have formally launched this partnership with SEROCU which I hope will make a difference in police's increasingly challenging and complex criminal investigations in this arena."

SEROCU is a police unit delivering a cohesive regional response to serious organised crime within the boundaries of Hampshire Constabulary, Thames Valley Police, Surrey Police and Sussex Police.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jess Wadsworth, Head of SEROCU, and Professor Mark Spearing, President and Vice-Chancellor (interim) at Southampton, delivered keynote speeches applauding the formation of the new partnership at the recent masterclass.

Dr Federico Lombardi, a Lecturer in Cyber Security, also delivered a presentation on Cyber Range for Blockchain Platforms, building upon findings of a Group Design Project recently carried out under his supervision by Electronics and Computer Science students.

Attendees at the all-day event included representatives from local police authorities, the National Crime Agency and British Transport Police.

Sarah Martin, Cyber Security Academy Collaboration Manager, added: "This new partnership is an exciting opportunity to build on our previous cyber crime symposiums, to host regular annual events with different themes between law enforcement and cyber security."

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