SOCA emphasises value of collaboration in fight against cyber crime

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has called on industry
leaders to help in the global fight against online crime. In a keynote
address to the 2010 e-Crime Congress in London last week, SOCA e-crime
senior manager Paul Hoare emphasised the need for strengthened Internet
governance to expose and disrupt criminal activity.

Mar 25, 2010
By Paul Jacques

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has called on industry leaders to help in the global fight against online crime. In a keynote address to the 2010 e-Crime Congress in London last week, SOCA e-crime senior manager Paul Hoare emphasised the need for strengthened Internet governance to expose and disrupt criminal activity.

A united front was essential, he said, in preventing serious criminal organisations from utilising the Internet anonymously, purporting to be legitimate businesses or benefiting from the slow removal of known criminal content.

He warned that the Internet provides almost complete anonymity for criminals.
“It is ridiculously easy to register a domain name with false details,” he said.

He added that this, coupled with the problems of working across multiple jurisdictions without common legal frameworks, makes law enforcement in the age of the Internet “extremely difficult”.

Mr Hoare told the conference: “In order to effectively reduce harm caused by Internet crime… the arena needs fundamental change. Criminals are well aware that systems intended to ensure that web users are identifiable are remote, weak and easily compromised. Compounding this is the fact that Regional Internet Registries, which in effect facilitate web presence, have very limited sanction options under current structures.

“This allows, and even encourages, completely anonymous criminal behaviour to grow unchecked, and needs to be designed out of the system.”

Working in partnership

Through Interpol, the world’s police and crime-fighting bodies have demonstrated their agreement on the need for a safer and more secure Internet framework. SOCA has been active in helping to gain that consensus. The agency has also undertaken long-term engagement with global Internet regulator ICANN (Internet corporation for assigned names and numbers), the organisation which develops and agrees policies for the future of the web.

ICANN’s membership is comprised largely of Internet business interests – although Mr Hoare has called for Internet and e-commerce firms which are not members to add their support for reform.
Mr Hoare said: “Working jointly with the FBI and other global partners, we have produced a recommendation for changes to the domain registration process. This would see minimum standards made a condition of accreditation by ICANN, making the Internet a much more hostile environment for criminals.”

He stressed that the proposals were designed to safeguard the privacy of individual users at the same time as making the whole system less open to criminal abuse. After a long consultation process, the recommendations were formally acknowledged by national governments in Nairobi a fortnight ago and have been submitted to ICANN.

What happens next would be law enforcement’s litmus test of ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, Mr Hoare concluded, under which the organisation is obliged to work for the public good.

He said there is no silver bullet to solve Internet crime, but the solutions to many of the problems are achievable through working in partnership.


UK ahead of EU in cyber attack defences

A new report shows that the UK needs to work more closely with NATO to fend off cyber attacks on critical national infrastructure, but is otherwise “reasonably well-placed” to cope with such incursions.

According to the report from the House of Lords EU Home Affairs sub-committee, the UK is ahead of the rest of Europe, which is lacking in its defensive readiness. The committee praised the UK’s cyber security efforts, saying the country is “thought to be a leader among [EU] member states, with developed practices that set benchmarks for others to adapt”.

“We believe strongly that the Government and the EU should be giving greater attention to how cyber-security could be dev

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