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Hacking activity and development of Internet-technologies

By Vladimir Golubev
Date: June 09, 2003

Stop Cybercrime The number of operations carried out through Internet is constantly increasing. New ways of electronic purchase are being used. The securities trade through Internet becomes more popular. Internet is also changing forms of commerce. The electronic auction is widely accepted. According to e-Marketer analysis, the world electronic commerce turnover will be $1.26 trillion in 2003. The representatives of Russia’s Boston Consulting Group predict that Russian electronic trade volume will reach $400-600 million in 2003. According to RosBusinessConsulting agency, nearly $40 million will be spent on realizing Russian multifunctional trade portal Internet-project! The agency reports that the portal will provide services connected with Internet-commerce, banking, insurance, reserving airplane tickets and tourist tours, broking, as well as electronic mass media, entertainment sites, search systems, online casinos, games and so on. In addition, the entire portal system will feature the united payment and trade.

At the same time, every medal is known to have two sides. The expected development of electronic business will cause joy not only to owners of projected Internet shops and developing Internet services. The criminal world representatives are also waiting for their new victims. The use of up-to-date technologies and telecommunications has considerably extended their “hunting grounds”.

The electronic commerce systems forcing many companies to act not in a safe way but in a quick one give hackers an opportunity to illegally penetrate into them.

The matter of hacking activity significance is quite natural in this connection. Everybody is certainly to know something about hackers’ attacks from newspapers or web sites. At first sight, all this is like hooliganism with using modern technologies. The usual response of most people is quite indulgent: well, there are some “advanced” persons desiring to manifest themselves or having nothing to do. It does not matter. When having sown their wild oats, they will know rest! They are young! What is the use scolding them? When they grow up, they will understand everything without fail and become exemplary members of the society. However, let us consider it more attentively, for example, growing organized hackers’ movement.

Thus, for example, Y2sKan “hacking audit” was openly conducted at the first international hack-conference in Jerusalem. Internet-space of Israeli’s site was carefully examined and the percentage ratio of vulnerable resources from the standpoint of this audit was established. As a result, 28% Israeli’s Internet resources were recognized as vulnerable.

The organized character of these events makes us change our attitude towards this new phenomenon. It is clear that hackers themselves explain their mission with quite positive motives of intensifying security in cracked systems. However, their victims look at it in a different way.

According to Computer Security Institute (CSI) and FBI Computer Intrusion Squad, the hacking activity on US market becomes increasingly appreciable every year. For example, 90% of interrogated persons said they had come across that or other disturbance of the security systems resulted from hackers’ attacks. The US total damage caused by hackers made up $226 million last year, the average annual losses for three previous years being about $120 million.

If the upward trend of these crimes remains the same without even being intensified, very soon financial losses inflicted by hacking attacks can become one of the leading expenses of many firms because of the avalanche-like “flow” of business to Internet.

What measures are taken in return? The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is expected to introduce the Internet monitoring automated system to fight e-swindle. However, according to Chet, PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting Company stated that it would not take part in that project because such a monitoring system could violate private rights of Internet users.

RosBusinessConsulting informs that Liberia’s government closed two popular radio stations broadcasting transmissions devoted to Internet. Liberia’s president Charles Taylor spoke in support of that decision because the e-war had broken out in Liberia and the government tried to prevent it.

“Computerra” informed that Canada’s Defense Ministry had established a special antihack-division consisting of twenty experts to protect State and military information objects.

However, in spite of reports about attempts to control the situation, from the subjective standpoint there is no feeling that some adequate measures have been taken. If the development of Internet in general and e-commerce in particular is an inevitable thing resulted from the society reaching definite technological borders and business striving for priority takeover of new markets, the organized cybercrimes are unavoidable as well. In ordinary life, the society has already come to conclusion that crimes are inescapable. The most different measures ranged from technical devices to legislative and pedagogical social mechanisms can and should be taken to fight them. However, the full eradication of crimes in “more-less” free countries is not brought up at all. The question is always about keeping the crime level within “reasonable limits”.

The usual social life is regulated by laws that have been established and perfected for many hundred years along with the gradual development of the society itself. Internet is defined as a free area of human activities, something like “social utopia” that cannot exist in real life but in cyberspace where ideas of freedom reach fantastic heights.

Today it can be affirmed with certainty that the process of Internet-technology intensive development results in organizing new online transnational criminal groups, which use Internet to commit crimes. The government is required to take adequate measures of fighting crimes committed in Internet.

Computer Crime Research Center

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