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Cybercrime Growing Harder To Prosecute

By Martin Stone
Jan 21, 2000 12:00 AM PT

U.S. Justice Department officials reportedly called computer crime a growing menace to corporations worldwide, and admitted that law enforcement agents face major hurdles in combating it.

Cybercrime Growing Harder To Prosecute

A report by Reuters today said Justice and FBI officials concede there is no such thing as a completely secure computer system. The warning was voiced Thursday at a conference on cybercrime sponsored by the Deloitte & Touche accounting firm, the report said.

Who Is Vulnerable?

"The issue isn't who is vulnerable because everyone is vulnerable. he issue is how are companies going to deal with those vulnerabilities," Reuters quoted Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison Burroughs as saying.

The report noted that a recent survey found that 62 percent of U.S. companies reported security breaches in the last 12 months and that resulting financial damages totaled almost $124 million (US$).

Computer criminals are harder to identify and have a greater reach than conventional criminals, Burroughs reportedly said, adding that prosecution of felons outside U.S. borders is complicated.

Formidable Weapon

Burroughs and FBI Agent Nenette Day warned that encryption, meant to protect company data, can become a formidable weapon for criminals wary of leaving electronic footprints, Reuters said.

That statement comes after Attorney General Janet Reno in September said that the administration would work on making strong encryption exports easier for US high-tech companies, who traditionally have been hampered in their efforts to ship the products because of law enforcement concerns.

The relaxed encryption regulations were announced on January 12th.

Day reportedly told the conference there are large numbers of computer criminals working every day from home trying to defraud or otherwise damage corporations. She added that corporations are often reluctant to report computer intrusions, making investigations more difficult, the report stated.

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