Wednesday, May 14, 2008

UT police launches cyber crime cell to tackle rising cases of e-fraud

Moving a step ahead with technological upgradation, the Chandigarh Police is all set to formally launch its Cyber Crime Investigation Cell tomorrow at the Crime Branch in Sector 11. The inauguration will be presided over by Punjab Governor and UT Administrator S F Rodrigues. The focus of the Cell will on the virtual world of cyber crimes that are ever on the rise with the increasing intricacies of computer technology.

The hi-tech cyber crime cell will include a portable forensic lab machine for extracting the data from the hard disc of computers, a cell-deck machine for extracting the call log, details and SMSes from mobile phones. Two softwares for the analysis of the extracted data have also been installed.

The portable forensic lab has been purchased at a cost of Rs 5, 80, 000. “The trend of cyber frauds is bound to be on the rise in the near future and the cell is equipped with the most upgraded technology to deal with and track cases relating to cyber fraud,” said ASP Madhur Verma.

This year itself, a total of five cases have been registered under the purview of cyber crime. Over 50 complaints have been received in which 35 have been disposed of. Former Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University K N Pathak and PGI Director K K Talwar are among the most recent victims of cyber crime in the city.

Online banking and trading fraud, credit-card frauds, fake profiles on the social networking websites and online migratory schemes are among the most common e-complaints

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US$13 million grant approved to fight cyber-terrorism

Malaysia's Prime Minister has approved a US$13 million grant to lay the foundation of IMPACT, a not-for-profit global organization to rally efforts from governments, the private sector and academia worldwide, against the growing threat of cyber-terrorism.

Malaysia's Prime Minister has approved a US$13 million grant to lay the foundation of IMPACT, a not-for-profit global organization to rally efforts from governments, the private sector and academia worldwide, against the growing threat of cyber-terrorism.

IMPACT (International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Terrorism) is the first global public-private initiative against cyber-terrorism, which drives collaboration among governments, industry leaders and cyber-security experts to enhance the global community's capacity to prevent and respond to cyber-threats.

The start-up grant will be used to construct the IMPACT (International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Terrorism) building in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, and operations are expected to start in December 2008.

The IMPACT initiative was formally announced in 2006 by Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, at the closing ceremony of the previous World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) held in the U.S.

Vulnerable online infrastructure

Al-Ishsal Ishak, Acting Chief Operations Officer and Head, Centre for Training & Skills Development of IMPACT, said the original announcement acknowledged that cyber and online infrastructure could also be vulnerable to other conventional forms of terrorism.

The fund will also finance the infrastructure of the four Centres of IMPACT: the Centre for Training & Skills Development, the Centre for Security Certification, Research & Development, the Centre for Global Response, and the Centre for Policy, Regulatory Framework & International Co-operation.

Currently chaired by the Malaysian Prime Minister, the chairmanship of the International Advisory Board of IMPACT will be taken over by other member countries after the initial three-year term on a rotating basis.

Mohd Noor Amin, Chairman of Management Board, IMPACT, said: "I think from the standpoint of the Malaysian Government, their contribution so far is really a gift to the global community, because someone has to start and they felt that they're just giving the seed."

Early Warning System

IMPACT is currently building two systems for its member countries. The Early Warning System will aggregate 'feeds' from its security partners and member countries, which will be redistributed across the world to member countries.

"Here [at IMPACT], we have people like Symantec, Kaspersky, F-Secure, Trend Micro, all feeding into our system", said Amin, "and, as for country feeds, member countries such as Malaysia will be feeding into the IMPACT system to tell the IMPACT system what is happening on the Malaysian landscape."

The collaboration system, according to Amin, is a secure electronic platform enabling experts from member countries to collaborate with one another based on their specialty and niche areas (such as to address security issues of legacy systems utilized by some member countries), such that member countries are able to collaborate in a secure way based on the fact that each expert is accredited to each government.

"In the event of an issue among our members, IMPACT hopes to be able to quickly put together a team of experts from all over the world to address the issues or the challenges ahead", said Ishak.

"Once IMPACT is fully functional, we will have whitepapers and reports on incidents and statements, for instance", said Amin.

30 participating countries in WCSS

From the law enforcement standpoint, Ishak said: "We actually are looking at first-hand interaction with the Cyber Crime Convention where we believe 14 countries have signed, or will sign. The U.S., Japan, and Canada, who are not members, are aligned towards the Cyber Crime Convention."

According to Ishak, Interpol will be represented at the first IMPACT World Cyber Security Summit, to be held shortly in Malaysia on May 20-22, 2008.

As of today, 30 countries have confirmed participation and representation at ministry-level of the Summit, including the Secretary-General of the ITU, a member of IMPACT's International Advisory Board. Ishak said: "We believe that it is the world's largest ministry-level gathering on the subject of cyber-terrorism." While the Ministry of Information Industry in the Mainland China "has shown keen interest" in participation, Hong Kong and Taiwan are to be confirmed, according to Ishak.

Cyber-terrorism calls for worldwide attention

Amin defined "cyber-terrorism" as subscribed by IMPACT as "using electronic means to cause a direct or significant damage to either the economy or to a country and even the life and limb [of a critical infrastructure]."

He said that IMPACT was concerned more about the consequences of cyber-terrorism than whether the threats were initiated by individuals or organized groups.

"We are talking about threats that are far more serious and far more sinister, for instance, the ability to bring down the airport traffic control systems, the ability to bring down the stock market systems, or to temper with medical records. [We are concerned about] things that cause devastating or serious consequences to the economy, even to the life and limb of people.

"We are all operating on cyber systems. It is probably fortunate for us, now, that we do not have, to be honest, we do not have a concerted or an organized attack on any economy yet. But the potential is there. And that is why I think more wired countries are putting in a lot of resources we have seen in the last few years", said Amin.

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