Government role in IT security - free hand or iron fist

Tuesday, 2 December 2003, 12:36 PM EST

Cyberspace is not what it used to be.

The on-line world is hostage to a motley crew of unsavory characters determined to milk it for all it is worth. They strike like thieves in the night and vanish without trace, leaving chaos in their wake. Blackmail and extortion attempts are on the increase. Eastern European crime gangs and Russian mafia are targeting corporate networks and extorting them to pay protection money. They threaten to expose stolen data or to bring corporate networks to their knees, unless the companies pay up.

A recent case involved a bank in Brunei. It received a blackmail attempt from a group claiming to have accessed personal data. A bank spokesman said they had no intention of complying with such demands and that no damage had been done. Law enforcement has been informed, and they are actively pursuing the matter.

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