Computer Crime Research Center


Is the world ready to fight cybercrime?

Date: July 11, 2008
By: Ian Grayson

Cybercrime poses a growing threat to companies and governments around the world, yet experts are concerned law makers and judicial systems are still not equipped to provide an adequate response.

While there have been recent high-profile apprehensions in the United States and Europe, it's feared these wins are just scratching the surface. Calls are growing for a new global approach to tackling the problem.

Executive director of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at the University of New South Wales, David Vaile, says the potential financial spoils of cybercrime make it an attractive option for disaffected programmers and security specialists looking to make big money.

He says there is also evidence that it's become part of the armoury of terrorist groups and others wanting to instigate high-profile attacks on financial institutions and markets.

"Why would you bother with flying a plane into a skyscraper when you could cause a crisis of confidence in the financial sector with an internet-based attack?" says Vaile. "You don't even need to rob the banks, just cause a run on them."

One of the key challenges for law enforcement authorities is the lack of a coordinated global structure under which cyber criminals can be charged and prosecuted. To take advantage of this, some groups have set themselves up in countries with less stringent checks and controls.

A recent report by the Australian Institute of Criminology titled "Future directions in technology-enabled crime: 2007-09" points to instances of "jurisdiction shopping" where offenders base themselves in countries where law enforcement is less robust and penalties lower.

"Until the process of harmonisation of laws and sanctions is more advanced, disparities between countries will continue to create risks," says the report.

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