[ISN] Cyber crime gathers strength

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Fri Mar 01 2002 - 02:08:46 PST

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    Ian Grayson and Deborah Bogle
    The Australian
    AUSTRALIAN companies are on notice - it's just a matter of time before
    they face attacks from cyber terrorists that could cause millions of
    dollars in losses.
    Whether it's the theft of customer information, network break-ins or
    malicious computer viruses, online criminals are out to cause as much
    destruction as possible.
    However, experts warn Australia is woefully under-prepared for such
    threats. Technical deterrents and legislation need to be rapidly
    South Australian police commissioner Mal Hyde told delegates at the
    World Congress on IT in Adelaide that the legal framework was
    incapable of dealing with the types of computer-based crimes that were
    now becoming prevalent.
    "We are being pushed into living our lives online and so you come to
    depend (on computers)," he said.
    However, the laws had not kept pace with technology.
    He said the anonymity provided by the internet allowed criminals to
    conduct fraudulent transactions, steal identities and launch attacks
    against companies and public infrastructure with little chance of the
    police catching up with them.
    Retired FBI agent and self-styled futurist Bill Tafoya told delegates
    the global cost of cyber crime and cyber terrorism had already reached
    trillions of dollars, but most incidents went unreported.
    So far, most of the attacks had come from amateur operators, but this
    would inevitably change as organised crime groups focused more of
    their efforts towards online activities.
    If you put the right skill set together, you could do significant
    damage, he told the conference. It was only a matter of time before it
    He cited a recent example from the US where an organised crime group
    hacked into a hospital computer system and administered a fatal dose
    of drugs to a patient. Law enforcement agencies were well placed to
    deal with traditional crimes but struggled when faced with this type
    of new threat.
    Director of Global Law Enforcement Programs with EDS Bill Bogart said
    companies had to be mindful of how much attacks against their IT
    infrastructure could cost.
    He said a company such as US computer manufacturer Dell conducted more
    than $US40 million of business a day on the internet. The cost of an
    outage in their IT systems could be measured in millions of dollars
    per hour.
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