INTERPOL and FIRST join Hands to Fight Cyber Crime

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A law enforcement loophole through which cyber criminals have been escaping started to close today as international police and the world's leading forum of online security experts forged a new alliance.

We've been wrestling with this problem now for three years, and at last here's a real opportunity to combine our efforts, set an agenda, and work to find a solution that gets criminals out of the virtual world and into the dock.

INTERPOL today became the latest and biggest law enforcer to join FIRST, the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams, in the battle against cyber crime.

The global police network's membership of FIRST was announced at the Forum's 21st annual conference in Kyoto.

Noboru Nakatani, INTERPOL's Director of Information Systems and Technology, hailed the move as "one of the most important bridges we've ever built" bringing the chance at last to close a gap between forensic techniques through which criminals have been able to escape justice.
While computer emergency response teams almost always try to disable attacks immediately, without waiting to trace aggressors who can then move on to fresh targets, police forces have preferred to watch crimes develop, hoping to pick up a trail that will lead to detection and a successful prosecution.

But, said Derrick Scholl, chairman of the FIRST steering committee, the problem of that approach is that "probably in no other area of criminal activity is it so easy to lay a false trail."

He explained: "Criminals can remotely hijack innocent users' PCs and deploy them to hack, steal and sabotage while the PCs owners carry on at the keyboard completely oblivious to what's going on behind their screens. So the cops turn up at the wrong door only to find someone who's not guilty, just bewildered.

"Track the incident down finally to the criminals' PCs and they can make it look as if they themselves are the innocent victims of a hijacking by unknown villains in a remote hideaway."

Often the elusive nature of cyber felony and the geographical vagueness of its origins have deterred or prevented police from undertaking investigations.

INTERPOL and FIRST agree that neither approach is working satisfactorily - but meanwhile some sources estimate that the perpetrators of just one version of Internet crime, "phishing" scams which purloin bank details online, are now stealing upwards of US$2-trillion a year.

Welcoming INTERPOL's admission as a member of FIRST, Mr Scholl went on: "This is the best chance we have of closing the gap. Having the biggest law enforcer on the planet on board with us is a great move forward.
"We've been wrestling with this problem now for three years, and at last here's a real opportunity to combine our efforts, set an agenda, and work to find a solution that gets criminals out of the virtual world and into the dock."

Vincent Danjean, INTERPOL Information Security Manager, addressed FIRST members today at their conference in the Hotel Granvia, Kyoto.
He said: "INTERPOL provides the secure global police communication system which connects all its 187 member countries virtually with each other: now FIRST will be able to make use of this formidable network."
Meanwhile significant advances in the development of online detection programs were honored at the conference with awards jointly sponsored by FIRST and its affiliate and major conference sponsor CERT (computer emergency response team) Coordination Centre, the Software Engineering Institute CERT program in Pittsburgh, PA.

Thomas Grenman and his fellow team-members at CERT-FI (Finland) were awarded US$2500 for their pioneering creation of Autoreporter, which keeps the Finnish network space secure, and US$5000 was presented to Michael Scheck and fellow team members at Cisco CSIRT (computer security incident response team) who devised the groundbreaking Netflow system for incident detection.
Details and reports from both winners can be found at CERT CC's website, http://www.cert.org/csirts/national/contest_2009.html and on the FIRST website at http://www.first.org/global/practices/

Founded in 1990, FIRST consists of internet emergency response teams from more than 200 corporations, government bodies, universities and other institutions from the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. It leads the world's fight-back against cyber-crime, sabotage and terrorism, and promotes co-operation between response teams and law enforcement agencies.

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Read more about the FIRST Kyoto Conference at
http://www.first.org/conference/2009/
Read more about FIRST at
http://www.first.org/ & http://www.first.org/about/

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