Private companies have become the first aiders of the digital world when businesses are struck down or harassed by hackers, with Trend Micro senior manager of Strategic Products Adam Biviano telling ZDNet that his company and many others like it can be faster to respond than law enforcement.
While Biviano was clear to state that only law enforcement can prosecute criminals, he views Trend Micro and similar organisations as taking on the protector role — a role that he said multinational security companies are well equipped for.
"One of the benefits of a company like Trend and other security firms is we are cross boundary. We have the ability to shut down traffic that our customers are seeing, regardless of where our customers are."
This advantage effectively lumps the private sector with the first-responder role, helping businesses that are being affected to get immediate assistance.
"From a tactical point of view, if you're talking about shutting down a piece of traffic today that's affecting a small business, then that small business will hire Trend Micro or hire a security firm to protect it today," he said.
Going through the traditional channels of talking to local law enforcement, having them contact their counterparts in the offending country, and obtaining a court order to cease the transmission of offending traffic can be a long and drawn-out process.
But approaching it from the victim's side and putting in place IP bans can be done in real time, according to Biviano.
That doesn't mean that law-enforcement agencies are irrelevant, however. Biviano said that Trend Micro often works alongside law-enforcement agencies, sharing information as necessary.
He said that in the long term, law enforcement must be engaged to tackle the root of the problem: the criminals.
"If you're talking about bringing down the entire botnet with the specific criminal element that's controlling it, that's certainly not the job of Trend Micro. That's the job of the relevant law-enforcement agency, and we'll work with them. "