The UK government’s signed up a series of security firms to help train law enforcement agencies for the fight against cybercrime.
Fed up by the way some countries fail to take action against cybercriminals within their borders, the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance (ICSPA) says it plans to disrupt their activities by providing more resources, tools and expertise.
Countries such as China, Russia, Ukraine and Brazil are likely to receive special attention, as they top the international cybercrime league.
Currently, cybercrime isn’t even in itself illegal in Brazil, although the country is finally working on incorporating it into its criminal code.
“Our government has already injected an additional £650m to help improve our national infrastructure and protect against cybercrime, but the very nature of this threat calls for more than a national response; it demands a truly global response and that is what the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance is all about,” says prime minister David Cameron.
“By forging new relationships between businesses, governments and law enforcement officers all over the world, by investing in new training, and by building an international exchange of expertise, the ICSPA is forming a network powerful enough and wide enough, to face down cybercrime.”
The organisation, to be headed by former home secretary David Blunkett, includes security firms McAfee, Cassidian Systems and Trend Micro, together with Visa Europe.
And it’s signed a strategic partnership with European law enforcement agency Europol.
“This is a vital partnership which will bring governments, business and law enforcement agencies together to address key issues such as the harmonisation of cybercrime training for law enforcement officials, providing advice and guidance and driving information sharing initiatives between EU law enforcement agencies and businesses,” says Rob Wainwright, director of Europol.
“By doing so, we aim to ensure that by working more closely together across our 27 EU Member States and with international partners, business and law enforcement can collaborate in ways which will start to have a real impact on the unprecedented levels of cyber criminality which is causing significant harm to businesses and citizens on a global scale.”
Last year, the government described cybercrime as one of the greatest dangers to UK security, right up there with terrorism in terms of a threat. In February, a Cabinet Office report calculated that cybercrime cost the British economy £27 billion per year.
It’s a somewhat controversial figure: last month, a Microsoft Research paper claimed that cybercrime was nowhere near as significant as this and other surveys have indicated.
“Our assessment of the quality of cyber crime surveys is harsh. They are so compromised and biased that no faith whatever can be placed in their findings,” say the company’s Dinei Florencio and Cormac Herley.
“Far from being broadly-based estimates of losses across the pop- ulation, the cyber-crime estimates that we have appear to be largely the answers of a handful of people extrapolated to the whole population.”
But, speaking at the launch, David Blunkett denied that the figures were overstated: “I think the last six months have dealt a blow to the skeptics that there was an exaggeration taking place,” he said.
Recent hacking attacks have targeted the International Monetary Fund, the CIA, the US Senate, and companies including Citigroup and Lockheed Martin.