KUALA LUMPUR, 22 OCTOBER 2008 - Security firm F-Secure Malaysia has called for the establishment of an internet police to help bring online criminals to justice.
According to the Finnish company's chief research officer, Mikko Hypponen, its wrap-up of security concerns for third quarter of 2008 emphasised the rapidly growing challenge of bringing online criminals to task.
The establishment of Internetpol' would help courts and law enforcement bodies around the world stem the mounting Internet crime wave, said Hypponen.
Interesting third quarter
Hypponen said that during the last quarter there have been several interesting legal cases involving Internet crime. These included phishers exploiting the international banking crisis, extensive spamming during the US presidential election campaign, as well as the return of the malicious e-mail attachment.
He said that in the US, a prolific spammer who had received a long prison sentence saw his conviction overturned by the Virginia Supreme Court in September. Jeremy Jaynes was the first person to be tried and sentenced under an anti-spam law enacted in 2003. Following an appeal, Virginia Supreme Court decided that the state Anti-Spam Law violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution concerning the right to free and anonymous speech.
In New Zealand, Owen Thor Walker, 18, known online as AKILL', and dubbed as the Kiwi botmaster king' in the international media, escaped a jail sentence in July despite pleading guilty to developing banking trojans that earned an estimated US$15.4 million to a criminal gang, said Hypponen.
International agency with enforcement powers a must
Hypponen said that an international agency with appropriate enforcement powers is needed. The Internet has no borders and online crime is almost always international, yet local police often have limited resources for investigations. Even if the locations of online criminals are discovered, the investigations rarely uncover the full scope of the crime. The victims, police, prosecutors and judges cannot see the full picture and therefore don't know the true costs of the crime.
Hypponen recognised that such an organisation would face a number of legal challenges. For example, malicious code is often created from countries where it is not illegal or not prosecuted. But if we do not act now to fight the source of crimeware, it will continue to grow stronger and threatens to destroy the current model of Internet business, banking and commerce.
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