“Germany received information last week that American spies had bugged Angela Merkel’s mobile phone, prompting Berlin to summon the US ambassador, a move unprecedented in post-war relations between the close allies.” ABC/wires
The rules of the game binding the golden age of detective fiction, created in 1929 by Ronald Knox are as follows:
- The criminal must be mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to know.
- All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.
- Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.
- No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.
- No Chinaman must figure in the story.
- No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.
- The detective himself must not commit the crime.
- The detective is bound to declare any clues which he may discover.
- The “sidekick” of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal from the reader any thoughts which pass through his mind: his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.
- Twin brothers and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.
As can be seen, the rules indicate a very classical understanding of detective or spy work which may well have been the case at the time… but we’re in the 21st century now. Children’s detective fiction will have to be adapted to accommodate stealth aerial drones, laser microphones and even Facebook! Well, there is one semi-classical concept that’s still around – phone tapping, but now it’s all digitised and automated.
So, we thought Knox’s Decalogue needed a touch of modernisation:
- The criminal must be… well, anyone really. As long as they have internet!
- All spam emails and unsolicited newsgroup postings must be filtered.
- Not more than one computer virus or network backdoor is allowable.
- No hitherto undiscovered encryption codes may be used.
- No Denial-of-service attack must be traceable back to its source in favour of the detective.
- The detective him/herself must not take part in any fiscal cyber fraud.
- The detective is bound to declare any malware encountered.
- The “sidekick” of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal from the reader any data which passes through his smart-phone: his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average Kindle owner.
- Multiple bot-nets must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.
Wait, we forgot one, right? This is our own spin on number ten:
- Real people must be involved.
Digital espionage and cybercrime is no fiction novel. It is very much so a reality, and with the alarmingly high increase in digital integration with our everyday lives it is becoming a somewhat significant threat. Not only is it a threat to our personal identity but a threat to business, however small or large. The key here is data. In high-school and in university my teachers drilled the concept of putting a dollar value on data. “Data is a businesses most valuable asset”, they would say. Once your company puts a dollar value on data it becomes a target for cybercrime and improper or carless protection of your data can result in significant losses to your business and everyone involved.
Cybercrime is not necessarily growing in frequency although threats are becoming increasingly damaging such that Symantec reported at the beginning of October this year an increase by 50% to the cost per cybercrime victim. To put the cost of cybercrime in context, the report below (McAfee, The Economic Impact of Cybercrime and Cyber Espionage, July 2013) showcases the cost of cybercrime against other expenses:
Alarming, right? For individuals the solution is easy. Step one involves education and training. The more people know about cybercrimes, the different types of attacks and how they work, the more people can proactively avoid being stuck with the fiscal damages as a result of cybercrime. Step two reaches outside the boundaries of human error and highlights a software approach where computers, digital assets and networks are digitally secured to prevent from unauthorised external intrusions as well as to mitigate the risk of human error.
How safe is your vehicle? Sure, most small-business budgets are tight and finding ways to save is always going to be a priority for small-business owners, but most of us wouldn’t drive without our seat belts securely buckled or in a car without basic safety features. There are some things you can’t simply cut corners on, and it will save you an incredible amount of money in the long run when you consider the financial risk of making your valuable data vulnerable.
Protecting yourself against cybercrime is definitely worth it in the battle against cyber criminals but what are our governments doing to mitigate the threat of cybercrime to protect our economy and their own digital services?
In June 2010, Europol (the EU’s law enforcement agency) created the European Union Cyber crime Task Force. The task force includes an expert group of representatives from Europol, Eurojust (the EU judicial cooperation body) and the European Commission. (KPMG)
At the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in November 2010, the EU, NATO and the US, approved plans for a coordinated approach to tackle cyber crime in member states. Under the approval, by 2013, an EU cyber crime centre will be established to coordinate cooperation between member states. Also by that time, a European information sharing and alert system will facilitate communication between rapid response teams and law enforcement authorities. (KPMG)
(Images: KPMG Issues Monitor: July 2011, Volume Eight)
Governments face many challenges when dealing with cybercrime including tracking the origin of the crime, dealing with the growth of the underground cyber crime economy, and the shortage of skilled cyber crime fighters. The constantly evolving nature of cybercrime magnifies these issues, very precise and effective management is needed by governments.
So what is our government, that of the Australian people, doing to combat cybercrime and to help individuals and businesses to secure their valuable data? GovInnovate is the new name given to a 3-day exposition consisting of the mGov focus day as well as three conferences; Cyber Security, Transforming Public Service Design and Delivery, and Gov 2.0. These conferences host a range of government personnel speaking on the future of technology in Australia.
GovInnovate runs from Tuesday 26 November to Thursday 28 November at the National Convention Centre in Canberra.
To find out more about GovInnovate head over to: http://bit.ly/1ayE2JJ