eBay security chief slams online crime 'hype'

eBay security chief slams online crime 'hype'

Summary: eBay security chief slams security community for creating hype about online crime

The head of eBay Australia's IT security has slammed the wider security community for making it difficult for users to learn about using the Internet safely, because they sensationalise online crimes and keep changing the names of potential threats.

Speaking at the AusCERT 2006 conference in the Gold Coast today, Alistair MacGibbon, Australian director of trust and safety at eBay, told delegates that Internet-based crimes are no different to crimes in the real world.

"There is nothing new about the Internet crimes we see and there is nothing new in the ways we have to fight them," said MacGibbon.

"Hacking is breaking into someone's computer system and tampering with data or stealing it. Is it any different from so long ago when people would break into the store room and steal the files of a company?".

MacGibbon said that in the online space there is obviously an issue with jurisdiction and also what the victim experiences, but essentially he said they were exactly the same crimes with the same motivations as in the offline world.

One prime example of what confuses users is the constant name-changing when it comes to potential threats - such as phishing.

"Phishing is about tricking someone into giving out details online -- like their password or their personal credentials when we know they shouldn't. Social engineering was about exactly the same thing.

"We have phishing one day, spear phishing the next, deep sea phishing and puddle phishing. All of them are variations on a theme and none of them different to the other crime," said MacGibbon.

"We sensationalise those crimes and make it much harder to educate consumers," he added.

Even without the added hype, fighting crimes and educating the public on how to go about their business safely is not an easy task, said MacGibbon, who is a 15 years veteran of the police force and an ex-director of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre.

As an example, MacGibbon cited murder rates, of which he said criminologists spend years trying to collect accurate data so it can be analysed and checked for trends.

"Even with something as simple as counting murders we have spent years trying to do it. Why? Because the definition in the legislation is different. The definition in the forms that get ticked in the various agencies are different. So our ability to count that crime in the offline space is difficult," said MacGibbon.

Munir Kotadia travelled to the Gold Coast as a guest of AusCERT.

Topics: Security, Browser, E-Commerce, Legal, AUSCERT, Enterprise 2.0

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.

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  • ebay thieves paradise

    i personally have been taken 3 times on ebay and sincerely would like to say to everyone, do not deal with ebay for a start when you win a auction you have to send your money to someone you have never met without even seeing the product. i do not deal with ebay because when i complained about being taken ebay did nothing and the traders kept taking peoples money i know i checked,there is no way that ebay can guarantee that some one is going to send an item or make them send it ebay justs suspends their trading and those people just change their names and keep trading. ebay is a paradise for thieved and rogues.
  • Alastair McGibbon?

    Wasn't he the guy who lied his arse off about forcing everyone in Australia to use Paypal only, by trying to sleaze their way past the trade practices act, by denying people the opportunity to pay in what ever way they thought fit - with direct transfer, money orders, credit cards etc., citing it was for a better buying experience and user security.

    Even tho Paypal now made the transaction between the seller and the buyer a heap more expensive and gave Ebay the chance to pick at the cherry 5 or 6 X.

    All the insertion fees (a heap of them), all the sale or final value fees, all the Paypal transfer fees, all the extraction of money from ones Paypal account fees etc.,...

    Wasn't Alastair McGibbon the guy who appeared on the Today Tonight interview, and he did nothing but try to bullshit his way through the whole thing - and all people in all the forums collective called him a Lying Snake Oil Salesman.

    Paypal and it's staff (e.g. McGibbon) have a track record of consumer fraud and deception that is so long that 28 Attorneys General in the USA took Ebay and Paypal on for deliberately misconstruing user terms and policies - that basically set Ebay and Paypal up to defraud consumers, with no comeback.

    Ebay has a record of deliberately ignoring the hundreds of thousands of complaints from legitimate companies and buyers about people selling fakes - because Ebay still gets a take of the sale - that's why.

    Even after one of the biggest sellers in Austrralia went belly up owing heaps, Paypal screwed nearly everyone of those people around - with their Paypal protection - by not paying until publicly outed and exposed - even after this and their lip service, they dragged their feet aplenty.

    Alastair McGibbon - Trust and Safety Dept, pigs arse.