AusCERT 2011: Police lack tools to combat cybercrime

Security industry at the cold face of cybercrime, not the police

Queensland Police Service officer, Brian Hay

Queensland Police Service officer, Brian Hay

Police officers are behind the eight ball when it comes to dealing with cybercrime, a Queensland Police Service officer has said.

Speaking at the AusCERT 2011 conference on the Gold Coast, Brian Hay said cybercrime is the biggest challenge that the policing community is facing because of its position in relation to the sector.

“Police are not at the cold face of the problem; the security industry is much more familar with these problems,” he said.

“Industry is at the cutting edge, police do not source their information from the cold face. Often the information they get will be after the event.”

Hay said a lack of communication and collaboration between policing entities is hindering the fight against cybercrime, with a lack of crimes being reported to members of police.

“Why is it that cybercrimes are not reported to police?" he said.

"The last thing an online business wants is police to take away their hardware because of a cyber criminal in another country,” he said.

Using the example of the recent Sony PlayStation Network compromise, Hay said the resources of hackers and other cyber criminals are much greater than the resources police officers have available to them.

“Policing grew the development of technological tools like DNA testing,” he said.

“But the important distinction to make is that policing was [essential to] the development of these tools ... but with cybercrime, the tables have turned.”

Hay suggested that the speed of cyber criminals combined with the view that cyber security is purely a technical problem was holding back the industry.

“Many consider cybercrime to be a technical problem with technical solutions [and] to some extent the human factor has been forgotten,” he said.

“The speed of the cyber technical evolution has been, and continues to be, astounding.”

Despite the complex nature of cybercrime, Hay addressed last year's World Computing Congress in Brisbane saying that cyber criminals were not technically gifted.

Hay’s presentation comes as Trusteer's CTO Amit Klein addressed AusCERT, saying that mobile banking malware was the next big threat to the industry.

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