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ABC 7.30 - Cybercrime wave hits businesses worldwide

International News

Monday, March 28, 2011
THE global treaty to fight cybercrime is doomed to fail, says Eugene Kaspersky, chief executive of Russian-based IT security vendor Kaspersky Lab.

The Gillard government is currently assessing whether to join the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, with public consultations having just closed.

While the government plans to give police new powers to order the collection of real-time network traffic data and to rapidly secure evidence held on computer systems, it has stopped short of agreeing to allow real-time interception on behalf of foreign powers.

It will, however, amend telecommunications intercept laws to permit the collection of "prospective data" for foreign law enforcement purposes where the nation has made a mutual assistance request approved by the attorney-general.

Mr Kaspersky says the cybercrime treaty is fundamentally flawed, because non-European and non-English speaking countries will not participate.

"I believe Russia, China and other Asian, South American and African countries will not join the club; there's not such a big level of trust in those regions.

"And I hardly believe the US would allow Chinese police to have access to American IT systems, nor Brazil allow French police access to Brazilian systems. This will not work."

Instead, Mr Kaspersky has called for the establishment of an "internet interpol", which liaises with national police forces and manages international crime investigations. "The bad news is, it will take many years for governments to agree on an effective international cyber police force," he said.

"It's a project on the level of (creating) the United Nations.

"Governments are aware and very scared of (the escalating) IT problems of fraud, crime and sabotage but they still don't know what to do because the problem is very deep and very big."

Mr Kaspersky was in Melbourne last week for the start of the Formula One Grand Prix season. His company is a sponsor of the Scuderia Ferrari team.

Kaspersky Lab has released a special Ferrari-themed edition of its Internet Security suite, packaged with a video driving simulator that allows users to test themselves on all the Grand Prix race tracks. Mr Kaspersky said the idea was to have a bit of fun and promote visibility of the security software.

"Well, boys are boys," he said. "And IT security is like a game, a serious and long-term game.

"It's an interesting industry, because we're not just fighting with our commercial rivals, we are also fighting with the bad guys, racing to keep ahead."

The cyber-threat landscape was becoming ever more complicated, Mr Kaspersky said, with traditional criminals now using personal data posted on social networks to commit real-world crimes.

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