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Corporate secrecy hampering fight against cybercrime

"Let's learn from the US and not wait for a major security breach over here"
Written by Joey Gardiner, Contributor

"Let's learn from the US and not wait for a major security breach over here"

Internet fraud prevention specialist Cyber Source has added its voice to calls for a confidential website where fraud victims can report crimes to the police. Tom Arnold, CTO from Silicon Valley-based Cyber Source - an adviser to the US government on the issue - said that the secrecy of companies worried about their reputations if associated with fraud, is preventing the problem from being tackled. Arnold said: "E-tailers don't ever want to admit to it - they think it damages consumer confidence - so the problem goes on." He pointed to a resource set up in the US by the FBI, called the Internet Fraud Complaint Centre, which had led to many more crimes being reported, and suggested other countries need to follow suit. "This is a global problem - and a growing problem - and as such is something everyone needs to address," he said. The site acts as an aggregation point for all internet fraud in the US, allowing reports and queries to get to policemen that understand them, and in the process giving the FBI valuable information to track trends and volume of crime. In April silicon.com launched its Fighting Fraud campaign, which pushed for the creation of an equivalent resource in the UK. As yet the police - via the newly formed National Hi-Tech Crime Unit - has not moved on the issue, but the cause is being taken forward by the British Web Designers and Marketing Association (BWDMA). Cyber Source's Arnold said the problem of fraud on the internet is 50 times higher than for other credit card transactions. For some sites - particularly high-risk gaming sites - the levels of fraud are 200 times as high. In addition to concerns that owning up to being a victim of fraud can damage consumers confidence, e-tailers are also reluctant to report the crimes because of the way the payment system is set up. Currently an e-tailer has to absorb the cost of a fraudulent transaction, and in addition is fined by the credit card firms - such as Visa and Mastercard - who then put them in a higher risk category and charge more to process the transactions. In the meantime scams such as identity theft - where criminals use real people's identities to set up false accounts - are growing. Arnold said the FBI's site was set up in response to a security leak two years ago in the US, which exposed the personal details of hundreds of US Navy veterans. Industry figures in the UK question whether the government here should act before a similar incident occurs. Patrick White, chairman of the BWDMA, said: "There seems to be more reluctance to report crime in the virtual world than there is in the real world - and crime solving has always been based on co-operation. We need some kind of similar instrument to that used in the US to make reporting easier. "Let's learn from the US and not wait for a major security breach over here." Link: http://www.ifccfbi.gov
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