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May 2007

Fight cybercrime by understanding a hacker's mind and attack motive

While studying the air map on a recent flight, I started wondering whether this so-called small world -- which really doesn't appear to be so small from 38,000 feet -- can effectively deal with the growing problem of data theft and successfully fight sophisticated cybercrime through legal tools alone. There's little doubt laws are essential to fight cybercrime -- especially laws that are user-friendly enough for application and are dusted off occasionally to ensure continued usefulness. Such a dusting was done last year with the U.K.'s Computer Misuse Act, which now broadens "unauthorized misuse" and revamps definitions of computer abuse to apply to DDoS attacks. Policies are also necessary crime-fighting tools. For example, more organizations will make laptop encryption mandatory this year, according to SANS. But are legal tools enough? One of my students once argued, "Even the best laws and policies aren't going to stop people from computer abuse -- you've got to change people if you really want to see an impact." I agree. ...

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Features in this issue

  • Intellectual property protection do's and don'ts

    Theft of intellectual property is a growing problem but many companies are not prepared to deal with this security threat. Learn about the risk involved with trade secrets, why companies are failing to protect intellectual property and tips for data protection, including risk assessment, encryption, and corporate governance.

  • Product review: Watchfire's AppScan 7.0

    Product review of Watchfire's AppScan 7.0, an application security testing tool for developers, quality assurance teams and penetration testers. The security product runs on Windows XP, Vista or 2003 Server.

  • Bit9 Parity product review for endpoint security

    Product review of Bit9's Parity 3.5, a PC security tool designed to give enterprises control over what users can do on company computers and prevent executables in malware from running on desktops. Automatically installs SQL Server 2005 and Apache Web Server, which is used for remote administration.

Columns in this issue

  • Hacker demonstrates targeted attack

    Hacker Robert Hansen, also known as RSnake, demonstrates the pains cybercriminals take to target specific organizations and individuals through an exercise posted on his blog, which targeted the head of Google's spam team. Hansen's exercise underscores the threat companies face from today's organized and patient cybercriminals.

  • Fight cybercrime by understanding a hacker's mind and attack motive

    Computer crime laws and security policies aren't enough to combat increasingly sophisticated cybercrime. Understanding the criminal mind and a hacker's motive can help an organization determine what assets are most valuable and better distribute security resources.

  • Interview: PayPal CISO Michael Barrett

    PayPal's 133 million online customers are the biggest ocean for phishers to plunder. CISO Michael Barrett wants to make it safe to be in the water, and he's not going at it alone. Backed by PayPal's sophisticated fraud models and help from ISPs, Barrett is succeeding in protecting the most-spoofed brand on the Internet.

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