NHTCU was an acronym that once struck fear into the hearts of the Internet ungodly, achieving some outstanding law enforcement successes against DDOS crooks and other cyber-offenders, but it's now being used to flog German holidays, reports the IT media this week.
The acronym was for Britain's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, formed in 2001 to liaise with similar cyber-crime busting agencies around the world to fight high tech crime, but now disbanded and assimilated into the Serious Organised Crime Unit (SOCA).
Of no further use, the domain was apparently sold off to an enterprising German Internet marketer, but as several cyber-editors have pointed out, the sale is a serious issue, because many websites around the world still have links pointing to the old NHTCU website and on the Home Office's own web pages.
Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos, was the first to notice the issue when he clicked on a link to the NHTCU website whilst reading a BBC article, but instead of landing on the NHTCU webpage redirecting people to the SOCA website, he instead arrived at a website advertising German holidays.
Cluley told Techworld that at the moment, the German site does not contain malware.
"There is no reason to think it will in the future," he said. "But there is the potential for the unscrupulous use of the site for nefarious purposes. It could contain malware, or indeed, claim to be the actual NHTCU website, which if it asked users to fill out their details, would lead to identity theft."