Lotsa Bots

I had to smile at the TK max credit card fraud story today, 48 hours after the close of an ecrime congress, where we heard that the largest criminal "Bot Network" of computers detected to date is 1.5 million, by the Dutch government computer emergency response team, who spoke at the event.

You can, by the way, hear the BBC coverage on 'Moneybox' here. All about 'Smishing', 'Phishing' and 'Vishing' with some input from me.

I spoke with both Sky News and the BBC this morning, who were looking for pundits, Thanet, being a little too far away to send an outside broadcast camper van with a satellite dish on. Sky very sensibly went after Professor Ross Anderson at Cambridge as suggested, who in turn, revealed what a complete mess the whole ecrime reporting system is.

From Monday, the banks assume responsibility, from the police - who don't report it anyway - for online crime. So if you are ripped-off, go tell you bank and they are supposed to inform the police, who will do... "err" probably nothing, because they have no budget and limited resources, which is why the responsibility has gone to the banks and the argument continues in circles.

Whatever, it's a huge farce and I said as much in an interview for the next BBC Money Box programme alongside the FBI, Microsoft, Ross Anderson and others.

One comment from the conference this week, was that if a retail chain isn't seeing enough shoplifting, then its merchandise isn't attractive enough. The same argument applies in the online world too. As long as fraud represents an acceptable percentage of bank's turnover, then they will take limited action to deal with it because of the cost and inconvenience of implementing much stronger safeguards. That's tough luck for the consumer, like one chap I met this week who had his passport stolen and with it, his entire identity over a year. He found himslef being summoned to court appearances for crimes he hadn't committed and much worse in terms of credit.

Even worse, convincing the police and the authorities that he had not suddenly changed from Dr Jekyll in Mr Hyde was even more difficult and there's little sympathy and no victim support if you discover that you aren't you anymore.

In the United States, where identity theft is now rampant, people have had to declare themselves legally dead. In this country though, we have the Inland Revenue and being dead is no excuse.

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