We Know Where You Live

I noticed for the first time this week that the emergence of Hi-tech crime appeared as an issue, when the Association of Chief Police Officers, ACPO, complained that the Police Service did not have sufficient funding available to address the many demands being made upon it, one of which was Hi-tech crime, which will ultimately fall under the remit of SOCA, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency; Britain’s version of the ‘Feds’ when it appears. Posted by Hello

Last Saturday, NatWest Bank announced that it had suspended Internet services over fears connected with a new identity theft or phishing scam. This month’s ‘Internet Security Intelligence Briefing’ from VeriSign, which examines security exploits between July and September, shows an increase of 150 per cent the same period in 2003. The report concludes that the Internet is becoming a more dangerous environment thanks to the sophistication of the attacks and the potential risk / reward model employed by the organised crime gangs now using a variety of techniques in an effort to compromise systems and steal sensitive information.

With Microsoft’s Windows as the inevitable and unhappy target of most attacks, the Global ATM Security Alliance (GASA) has now published the first international security guidelines for ATM machines. This is an area which many of us have worried over for some time – my own local ATM machine appears to crash at least once a week with an appropriate Windows error message displayed. A year after the Slammer worm indirectly shut down some 13,000 Bank of America ATMs by infecting database servers on the same network and the Nachi worm compromised Windows-based automated teller machines at two financial institutions, the industry has decided it needs a broader defensive approach to the problem. In fact, I’m in the Middle East at the beginning of December speaking at an International banking conference on the very same subject of banking and internet security.

While the Police are asking for more money and resources, The Home Secretary will use this week’s Queen’s speech to outline new Government measures to combat crime and terrorism. These include the introduction of ID cards and plans to prevent "acts preparatory to terrorism" which might include "perhaps being able to use computer networks" or perhaps visiting the Al Jazeera website?

Now Mr Blunkett and former President’s Ant-terrorism Advisor, Richard Clarke might benefit by being ‘locked-up’ in the same room together, to exchange ideas in their approach to the same problem.

The Computer Crime Research Centre reports that Mr Clarke, has revealed” That before invading Iraq, the U.S. government used the Internet to communicate directly with Iraqi soldiers by sending them personalised messages saying, "We're about to invade. We're going to overwhelm you and if you resist us we're going to kill you. But we don’t want to do that. So really the best thing for you to do when we invade is to go home. The soldiers got the message”, he said “and most of them went home. “

In Iraq, before the war, it’s probably fair to say that only a small handful of Iraqi soldiers had access to the Internet and perhaps indeed, they went home to be bombed instead of being bombed ‘in situ’. However, the whole subject of the Internet in the context of war and terrorism appears exaggerated by Governments on both sides of the Atlantic with a particular agenda to support. I believe we should be very cautious over ‘mission creep’ statements contrasting the fight against organised crime on the Internet and the fight against global terrorism, particularly when it starts finding its way into our legislation.


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