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Tuesday, 04 August 2009 11:15

NBN threatens to put e-crime on steroids

Security watchdog AusCERT will present at Senate Estimates tomorrow to warn that the advent of the National Broadband Network could prove the equivalent of putting e-crime on steroids.

Graham Ingram, general manager of AusCERT, speaking at the 2009 eCrime Symposium in Sydney, said that the;“Level of infection is directly proportional to broadband penetration.” Ingram said that he was deeply concerned about the implications of the NBN for the degree of e-crime perpetrated in Australia and against Australians. 

“Everything is on steroids when we have the NBN,” he warned.

He said that e-criminals often clocked the speed of an internet connection, and where people with a dial up connections might be relatively safe from attack and infection, people connected by fast broadband represented potentially rich pickings for criminals looking to embark on phishing expeditions, launch malware, or grow botnets.

“The NBN is significant to this country and significant to the criminals,” said Ingram, adding that he had already met with the minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy Stephen Conroy to voice AusCERT’s concerns. Ingram said that system security needed to be considered closely during the planning stage of the NBN when it could still be integrated in the fundamental architecture and design of the network, rather than bolted on later almost as an afterthought. There also needed to be a national approach to monitoring e-crime according to Ingram.

Even without the NBN; “We are being swamped by malware. There are 10,000 new malware samples a day.” Ingram claimed that the escalating incidence of malware meant that there was now only a 50:50 chance of antivirus software being able to detect malware.

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In addition up to 100 websites a day in Australia were now hosting malware with 80 per cent of malware infections arising from so-called drive-by-downloads where people visited infected websites and unsuspectingly picked up a malware payload.

He warned that at present; “Law enforcement is not functioning in the area we work in and we have a misplaced trust in the technology.”

There was also a lack of comprehensive monitoring at the national level.

“Do we have a national approach to detecting attacks? No,” Ingram said, adding that even AusCERT was only able to track attacks in an ad hoc fashion.

He was concerned that the; “Whole e-crime thing is just getting out of control. We need a properly funded and structured capacity to track this in place before the NBN is rolled out.”

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