Computer Crime Research Center


Internet is a new target for crime and terrorism

Date: February 28, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Vladimir Golubev

According to the information of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russian Federation number of crimes in high tech field in 2004 year increased significantly as compared with the last year. Representatives of the Ministry emphasize unauthorized access to information systems, unlicensed software distribution and attacks on financial systems in the Internet among the most spread violations.

There are already more than 40 thousand oriented on hacking and teaching this tricks websites, like "Hacker: howto? It is at". Any teenager can buy not expensive book telling about simplest methods of attacks on information systems. At that no one can foresee where this attack will be directed. Whether it will be sites attacks on which will cause greatest financial losses, eg remote data bases servers, computers of regular users, news sites, state bodies sites, corporative information systems?

Hacker activity directed to break in bank automated systems concerns law enforcement most. In November 2003, Ukrainian hackers attacked computer payments system of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (Great Britain). As a result the system of payments (WorldPay) was put out of action. The Royal Bank of Scotland took measures to renew the computer system of retail payments. By means of this system The Royal Bank served 27,000 clients by WorldPay and accepted payments on Visa, MasterCard, Diners and Eurocard in more than 27 countries all over the world. Annual losses from illegal activity applying new Internet technologies are over $ 80 billion. Manufacturers and bankers spent about $ 30 billion on fighting hackers and viruses last year.

Unfortunately, sphere of high tech and Internet is becoming a tool for organized crime and terrorism. Trends of future cyber wars are examined by example of recent "hacker war" between Palestinians and Israel. Deterioration of governments' websites was not the only result of some these operations. Also hackers inactivated some computer systems connected to critical important elements of national infrastructure. National infrastructure of any state is associated with global network and, obviously, is becoming a convenient target for cyber terrorism. Terrorists may take an interest, first of all, in control systems of nuclear reactors, huge strategic kinds of raw stuff (oil, gas), systems of water and energy supply, traffic centres, communications, secret biological labs, chemicals plants.

One of the determinatives in fighting computer crimes and cyber terrorism is improvement of legal basis and efforts coordination aimed at struggling such dangerous under conditions of world informatization criminal phenomenon like computer crime or cyber terrorism. Further evolution of the Internet in many respects depends on whether all countries would provide trust and safety not only in national but also in global cyber space.

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