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[ISN] Cyber crime will spread: study


By Jordan Baker 
Chief Police Reporter
September 6, 2007

CYBER criminals will try to exploit the Federal Government's proposed 
health and welfare access card, interfere with e-passports and engage in 
"industrial espionage", a federal study predicts.

The criminals will move away from a scatter-gun approach and start 
targeting specific companies and people, the Australian Institute of 
Criminology report on directions in technology crime warns. It says the 
access card planned by the Federal Government will be a "likely target".

"Areas of risk will relate to dishonest initial enrolment of users as 
well as data insecurity, both with respect to the card's computer chip 
as well as supporting databases," it said.

Criminals might also try to compromise the quality of data protection 
for e-passports.

As government use of advanced technology increased, there would be an 
increased risk to online services such as electronic voting and 
tendering. "Such applications would be attractive targets for groups 
wishing to disrupt or affect levels of confidence in government and 
business generally."

Criminals could exploit a household or consumer in a bid to get access 
to businesses, and soon the attacks would come not only from people with 
programming experience, but also from people with financial and legal 

Cyber crime had been motivated by curiosity and fame. But it was 
increasingly being driven by greed - hence the involvement of organised 
crime - as well as revenge by disgruntled employees, and politics, 
including terrorism.

"Terrorist financing through the use of technology-enabled crime will 
develop as an important area of risk," the report says.

As companies outsource operations overseas, or deal more with developing 
countries, they will need to take steps to protect their information 
security, the report says. Weaknesses could be introduced to overseas 
software "by corrupt offshore employees or foreign intelligence 
agencies", leading to industrial espionage.

As workers become more mobile and use more mobile and wireless devices, 
their personal and corporate information will become vulnerable, the 
report says. There was easy wireless access to networks, while "the ease 
with which erased data on such devices can be recovered increases their 
attractiveness to criminals".

Pre-paid cards and online international funds transfers provided new 
options for money launderers, as did multiplayer online games. Such was 
the sophistication of many online games, money launderers could buy 
virtual cash using illegal funds and change it back to real money.

The report also warns the legal defences of cyber criminals will become 
more sophisticated. They might challenge the admissibility of electronic 
evidence or insist they were merely role playing.

The report recommends engaging the internet security industry to help 
design secure software and hardware and setting up taskforces to 
investigate cyber crime.

Copyright 2007 - The Sydney Morning Herald.

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