Background: With the boom of the Internet in recent decades, computer-related crime has also become an ever increasing problem. Advances in information technology have brought us a wealth of information and services, but criminals are also taking advantage of this revolution in communications. According to World Internet Usage and Population Statistics, from 2000 to 2009, the Internet has expanded at an average rate of 380% on a global level, and currently an estimated 1.7 billion people are on the Net. The rapid growth of cyberspace has also created new opportunities for criminals in perpetrating crimes, or exploiting vulnerabilities and attacking critical information infrastructures of countries. The costs associated with cyber crime and cyber attacks are significant – in terms of lost revenues, loss of sensitive data, and damage to equipment.
Cyberspace, as the fifth global common space – after land, sea, air and outer space – is in great need of coordination, cooperation and legal measures to govern its shared used among all nations. In order to achieve peace and security in cyberspace, international law is necessary to enable the global community to deter the urgent and increasing cyber threats. The United Nations has been working diligently to stop cyber crime and cyber terrorism. For example, in recent years, Microsoft and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime have been collaborating to train law enforcement agencies on the use of information and communication technologies to tackle cyber crime. The 3rd of February Briefing looked at the issue of cyber crime, how widespread the problem is, the challenges it faces, what the UN and others are doing to tackle it, possible solutions and the role for NGOS, civil society and the private sector in combating crimes committed on-line.
Source: UN DPI-NGO Relations
|Moderator, Gail Bindley-Taylor Sainte, Information Officer of the DPI-NGO Relations.
||Gillian Murray, the Chief of the Conference Support Section and focal point for cyber crime in the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Moderator, Gail Bindley-Taylor Sainte, Information Officer of the DPI-NGO Relations, opened the briefing by stating that the advances in information technology brought people tons of information and criminals are also taking advantage of this revolutionary communications. Since cyber crime is an issue that has no borders, there is a very urgent need for global approach to deal with this problem. At the 12th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in April 2010, delegates discussed their concern with cyber crime issues such as computer-based fraud, illegal interception of private communications, interference with data, and misuse of electronic devices. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon quoted for collective efforts to fight organized crime and said “ I urge you to be more innovative, when it comes to emerging threats such as cyber crime and environmental crime. We must stay one step ahead of the criminals.”
Ms. Gillian Murray, the Chief of the Conference Support Section and focal point for cyber crime in the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), emphasized that the role of UNODC is to encounter such forms of crime from crime prevention and criminal justice angle. UNODC gets the mandates from General Assembly, UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crimes, ECOSOC, Crime Commission and the Crime Congress, which happens every 5 years. Article #29 requires that parties to develop specific training programs for law enforcement personnel including prosecutors, this is another area, which UNODC can help. In addition, March 2010 UNGA adopted a resolution creating a global and cultural cyber security. UNODC had some work done also on ID related crime, had a study on fraud, criminal misuse of identity, and they also developed tools and last but not least there is an establishment of consultative platform to examine related issues.
|Betty Shave, Assistant Deputy Chief for International Computer Crime in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice.
||Dr. Gang Tan, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and leads the Security of Software (SOS) Lab at Lehigh University.
Betty Shave, Assistant Deputy Chief for International Computer Crime in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice, started her presentation by describing the role of CCIPS. The Section composes entirely of prosecutors. Generally, what the section does cases, prosecutions, they do their own prosecutions, supply assistance to public safety authorities in the United States and also offer assistance to foreign authorities who want to get electronic evidence. Furthermore, CCIPS also give advice in cases that are physical cases that depend on electronic evidence, which is more common, and often these involved violent crime. For example, this would be kidnapping elderly woman in Latin America and the electronic ransom note come through servers in the United States, so United States law enforcement is necessary. Another role of CCIPS is to provide very extensive training, seminars in nearly every region in the world for about 10 years. They do speaking engagements in and outside of the United States, and have foreign visitors. The primary focus of the seminars has mostly been how to draft the good cyber crime statute and how to improve the investigating capacity of public safety agencies. Beside these, CCIPS also do policymaking and relationship building bilaterally with other countries with many multilateral organizations around the world on very broad range of topics, such as critical infrastructure protection, free speech on the net, racism on the net.
Dr. Gang Tan, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and leads the Security of Software (SOS) Lab at Lehigh University, talked about how can computer security research combats cyber crimes. Botnet is a network of compromise computers remotely controlled by bot masters. One thing that makes botnets very dangerous is it is very devious. Even if a personal computer is part of botnet, its real owner may not be aware of it. In other words, the owner can still use his computer in the normal way but the botnet were installed as a hidden program in his computer. Botnet also is capable for certain criminal, illegal activities, such as carrying out email spamming campaign. The first step to combat botnet is to understand their behavior.
Q: What should be done to raise public awareness on the issue of cyber crime?
A: Providing training sessions for the NGOs can be one of the ways to raise public awareness. One other crucial way to raise public awareness on this subject is finding partners on private sector and working with them. Last but not least, educational materials for the children play a crucial role on the prevention of cyber crime.
Q: Are you satisfied with the cooperation that you are getting on a national level?
A: First of all, we need to be able to get more findings than we are getting right now. While some countries are very cooperative with us and even want national conventions; others do not want. However, the good news is most of the countries in the world are someway engage in legislation and once they had the legislation for a best result they need to enforce it. On the other hand, in order to use technological evidences, authorities such as police officers, prosecutors and authorities in the court system need to educate themselves in this subject.
Q: Are there personal tools to prevent scams?
A: Google has tools and programs to prevent having scams, particularly in the emails. Also, research companies work on issues like that.
Q: What is the probability of a cyber crime that might lead major crisis?
A: It is not possible to know the probability, and the answer of this question depends on your definition of a cyber crime.
Brief Biographies of the Panelists:
Gillian Murray is the Chief of the Conference Support Section and focal point for cyber crime in the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). In this capacity, Ms. Murray deals with the growing international problem of cyber crime. She is also involved with conducting research and building relations with Member States, and the private sector; developing and making recommendations on the strategic response of UNODC to assist Member States to counter the threat of cyber crime, and on the development of technical assistance projects in developing countries. Ms. Murray is also in charge of the Organized Crime Section of UNODC. Her first assignment with the United Nations (UN) was with the UN International Drug Control Programme (now the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) as Deputy Regional Adviser in the Caribbean. From there she moved to UNODC’s Headquarters in Vienna in December 1993, where she continued to work in the Office’s technical assistance programme. In 1996, she was assigned to the Co-financing and Partnership Section, where, as the head of the office she managed the mobilization of resources in support of the operational work of UNODC.
Betty Shave is the Assistant Deputy Chief for International Computer Crime in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice. She was the first head of the US delegation to the High-Tech Crime Subgroup of the G8 countries, which focuses on improving cyber crime laws and investigative capabilities within and outside the G8. She served in that capacity from 1997 to 2000 while also participating in the negotiations of the Convention on Cyber crime at the Council of Europe. She was a recipient of the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her work on the Convention and served as chair of its implementation committee from 2008 until June 2010. Ms. Shave supervises CCIP’s activities in multilateral groups, including the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, the Organization of American States, and many others. Through these groups, she has collaborated with, or helped to train, many countries, especially on such issues as drafting adequate cyber crime laws, improving investigations of crime and terrorism, better law enforcement collaboration and consultation with the private sector, and protecting critical infrastructures.
Gang Tan is an assistant professor of Computer Science and Engineering and leads the Security of Software (SOS) Lab at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Princeton University in 2005. He has been conducting research in software security, web security, and electronic voting-machine security. In 2008, he was a member of a team of experts in a court-permitted study of the security of a major electronic voting machine, in connection with a New Jersey voting-machine lawsuit. His current research projects are sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Google Inc.
Sirin CENGIZALP is Youth Representative of The Light Millennium to the UN DPI-NGO
- More on the UN/DPI-NGO Briefings on the Lightmillennium.Org