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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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