The European Union is planning to create and launch a European Cybercrime Centre by January 2013. The centre, a proposal of the European Commissions, will operate within Europol, the continent’s police agency and will deal with online banking fraud, attacks against smartphones and other large scale types of attacks which are directed against public services and infrastructure. Read more
To improve British police abilities to prevent growing cybercrime, UK authorities established three regional e-crime fighting units in Yorkshire and the Humber, the Northwest and in East Midlands, each having a team of three dedicated police officers.
They will work side by side with the Metropolitan Police Central e-crime Unit. The establishment of regional offices is part of the UK government’s plan to spend 30 million ponds over four years to improve the country’s ability to investigate and diminish cybercrime. Read more
Law enforcement agencies worldwide are getting better at catching cybercriminals, scoring some big cybercrime busts and getting better at detecting and investigating data breaches. Officials worldwide detected five times as many breaches in 2011 as in 2010, according to new data in the Trustwave’s 2012 Global Security Report. About 33% of organizations with data breaches discovered the incidents when alerted by law enforcement, up from 7% in 2010. These good results for law enforcement are mostly powered by the work of the U.S. Secret Service, Interpol, the Australian Federal Police, and the U.K.’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).
Only 16% of victim organizations detected hacking incidents on their own in 2011, while the other 84% only discovered them when alerted by outside entities, such as law enforcement, regulatory bodies, or a public venue. When analyzing the circumstances of the hacks discovered by third parties, it’s been discovered attackers had been active within the victim organization’s network for an average of 173.5 days before being detected. Read more
It seems that files very similar to what has been called the Zeus cybercrime toolkit have appeared in some underground forums and are available for purchase.
The whole sales announcement and process has been set up by someone nicknamed IOO and it is supported by screenshots of portions of ZeuS code. IOO is not very restrictive when it comes to payments, paying for Zeus can be easily settled via any escrow services and more information can be offered via CIQ or Jabber. Read more
US President Barack Obama has recently announced a White House coordinated security plan against cyber threats and attacks. According to the New York times that discussed the presidential speech in detail, the new plan will be carried out without any intrusions in people’s privacy. Obama promised to bar the federal government from keeping a close and permanent watch over “private-sector networks” and internet traffic.
How exactly will the plan work and how will its goals be reached? This part is unclear. What we know is that the President will appoint a new “cybersecurity coordinator”, a person with direct access to Mr. Obama and who will hopefully manage to also mediate the dissensions between the several agencies dealing with cyberthreats at the moment, such as the Pentagon, the National Security Agency, or the Homeland Security Department. According to the same article in NYTimes, this coordinator will also act as “action officer” inside the White House during cyberattacks launched on the United States by both hackers or governments.
How does this new spotlight on cybersecurity affect companies? For a lot of US companies, it’s a dream come true, as they all hoped the President will do something about the growing number of attacks.
Many computer security executives had been hoping that Mr. Obama’s announcement would represent a turning point in the nation’s unsuccessful effort to turn back a growing cybercrime epidemic. On Friday, several said that while the president’s attention sounded promising, much would depend on whom he chose to fill the role.
What I think is important to note is that the Obama announcement comes after a major shrink in IT security budgets (caused by the economic downturn), when thinks are starting to look brighter. Mixed with the major security threats and data loss cases that storm in virtual and pring newspaper and magazine pages, it will all lead to an investment increase when it comes to effective security. Which will benefit both security solution developers and companies who will no longer be exposed to significant financial losses.
Another interesting aspect of the Obama speech was his revealing information on the cyberattacks his staff had to deal with during the presidential campaign. He spoke of hackers who managed to get access to emails and campaign files, such as position papers and travel plans. The White House has finally reached a conclusion all security experts have known for quite some time, very articulately put by the US President:
“in this information age, one of your greatest strengths — in our case, our ability to communicate to a wide range of supporters through the Internet — could also be one of your greatest vulnerabilities.”
According to the latest data released by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, damages caused by online fraud have significantly increased, going up by 20 percent.
The report cited by SecurityFocus shows that, while the number of complaints has been a little lower, the reported damage originated from online fraud grew from $198 million in 2006 to $239 million in 2007. FBI’s IC3 online portal where cybercrime complaints are received processed a little under 207,000 such reports last year, just a few less than in 2006. The criminal activity is in no way discriminatory, affecting victims aged from 10 to 100 years old.
“The Internet presents a wealth of opportunity for would-be criminals to prey on unsuspecting victims, and this report shows how extensive these types of crime have become,” James E. Finch, assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division, said in a statement. “What this report does not show is how often this type of activity goes unreported.”
While the media reports often on the crime of identity theft, the largest number of people, more than a third, complain about online auction fraud, the IC3 report stated. Other online crimes, such as industrial espionage by other nation states, largely go unreported. Earlier this month, the Council of Europe requested that Internet service providers help battle cybercrime by sharing information about their users.