by Raimund Genes
We’ve been protecting our customers around the world now for over 26 years – and doing it pretty well I think. But this is only one piece of the jigsaw. Unless we co-operate with law enforcement to disrupt cyber crime operations and put the ringleaders behind bars, we’re failing to get at the root cause of the problem. That’s why we’ve always been an active participant in any initiatives designed to foster greater collaboration of this sort.
And this is why we are delighted to announce the signing of a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) which will see us share information and work on entire cases together.
The problems of tackling cyber crime are well known to most in the industry, but they’re probably worth re-iterating. Unlike traditional, “real-world” crimes they can be cloaked in the anonymity of the internet, with tools like Tor and I2P, darknet sites, proxies and other obfuscation tools, helping to keep the identity and location of the perpetrator a secret. What’s more, unlike the real world there are no national jurisdictions online, which means a cyber criminal can hide far away from the place where his or her victims live, and from where the infrastructure used to commit a crime is located.
This makes it doubly difficult for law enforcers – even if they manage to unmask a suspected cyber criminal, they might often struggle to have them extradited. The problem is especially acute in regions where governments turn a blind eye to such activity, as long as it furthers the national interest – in other words, where cyber attacks are focused outwards rather than internally.
In the UK, we have some of the most dedicated, highly skilled cyber law enforcement officers in the world at the National Crime Agency – the guys tasked with investigating the most serious and organised crime. But as with most things, they are under-resourced and there simply aren’t enough of them to cope with the avalanche of threats facing us today. That’s why industry needs to stand up and do its bit – adding another vital piece to the jigsaw.
Trend Micro is one of the largest information security firms in the world. Our TrendLabs team is staffed by over 1,200 experts worldwide, and we gain invaluable intelligence from the millions of customer endpoints scattered across the globe. Our cloud-based Smart Protection Network, meanwhile, analyses over 15TB of threat data and identifies and blocks more than 250 million threats every single day. That’s not bad firepower for law enforcers to have at the ready.
That’s why we’ve signed a landmark MoU with the NCA which will see us formally share threat information with each other – in the past it was done in a much more ad hoc manner. It will also crucially see us work hand-in-hand on a case; right from choosing the case itself, intelligence gathering and through to developing the final “intelligence package” to be sent to the arresting officers.
The bad guys have had it their own way for way too long. They’re more than happy to share intelligence and infrastructure with each other – for a price – to make their efforts more successful. Now it’s time to respond in kind. The fightback starts here.