Davos: Governments must take global action on cybercrime

Cybercrime is becoming an increasing threat to web users and businesses, experts at the World Economic Forum in Davos have warned.

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Cybercrime is becoming an increasing threat to web users and businesses, experts at the World Economic Forum in Davos have warned.

Security experts have called on government leaders and legislators to create a new system to tackle well-organised gangs of cybercriminals.

Online theft costs $1 trillion a year as the number of attacks increases sharply, they said. But there is not yet any real coordinated global enforcement, the panel of experts discussed.

The panel consisted of Mozilla chairwoman Mitchell Baker, McAfee chief executive Dave Dewalt, Harvard law professor and leading internet expert Jonathan Zittrain, Andre Kudelski of Kudelski group, which provides digital security solutions, and Tom Ilube, the boss of Garlik, a firm working on online web identity protection. To encourage frank debate, Davos rules do not allow the attribution of comments to individual panellists.

The panel cited the widespread damage caused by the Conficker worm (also known as Downup, Downadup and Kido) as an example of malware’s acceleration. As of 26 January 2009, Conficker had infected more than 15 million computers.

A growing proportion of instances of cybercrime can now be attributed to large-scale gangs rather than lone individuals, the experts said during a session at the annual Davos meeting titled ‘Is the Internet at Risk?’.

One panellist said the past year had seen "more vulnerabilities, more cybercrime, more malicious software than ever before", more than had been seen in the past five years combined, the BBC reports.

What’s more, attacks could threaten whole economies, they warned.

But another panellist commented: "The internet is a global network; it doesn't obey traditional boundaries and traditional ways of policing don't work."