Fighting CyberCrime: A Global EffortDifferentiating Friend from Foe is Challenging
This week, in response to a piece I wrote about actions courts worldwide are taking to stiffen the sentences they hand down for cybercrimes, fraud analyst Tom Wills says the government posture against cybercrime has progressively moved up the chain of command.
"Now it's reached the top," Wills says. "The reason for that is that lower-level initiatives have failed to put a serious dent in the problem. So, we're finally at the level we need to be in order to attack global cybercrime effectively, and the strategy is a sound one."
Cybervigilantes like Anonymous prove the psychology behind cybercrimes and attacks is much different than what we've faced in the past.
International collaboration, steeper convictions for cybercrimes and government support for the cyberfight are fueling positive progress.
"The Obama Administration has been pushing for the maximum sentence for computer crimes, which is 10 years," says online cybersecurity expert Joseph Steinberg. "Fifteen years ago, computer crimes were typically committed by kids; today the stakes are much higher, such as national security." [See Obama Vows to Battle Int'l Cybercrime.]
The cost of cybercrimes is much higher, too, as are the threats associated with them. Cyberattacks waged by one government on another make national security a concern, and cybervigilantes, like Anonymous, prove the psychology behind cybercrimes and attacks is much different than what we've faced in the past. [See News Analysis: Who Do You Trust?.]
"If you have one country that's spying on another country, they're not going to help you fight cybercriminals. It depends on whether the government might be involved," Steinberg says. The problem: How do you know who's a friend or foe?
Everyone with a stake, from government to business to the general public, will have to get involved. The good news: 70 percent of the battle is recognizing that we do indeed have a problem.
For my part, I find global collaboration promising. And we must be careful not to jump to conclusions about which nations are friends and which are foes. Countries in Eastern Europe have for years been considered unfriendly, but recent cybercrime arrests have hinged upon involvement from law enforcement agencies in places such as the Ukraine and Romania.
Recently, all eyes have been on China. Is China the 'Shady RAT'? My colleague Eric Chabrow, executive editor for sister-site GovInfoSecurity, has posted a series of blogs this week examining that question.
China historically has denied being behind hacks and attacks on U.S. government officials and systems. But it's hard to know what to believe.
I'll wait for more to come through before I lean one way or the other. I suppose reluctance on the part of China to assist in the capture and prosecution of global cyberterrorists might give us some insight, but it's never safe to make too many assumptions.
Not when the global cybercrime landscape is changing so quickly around us.