How to Stop Cybercrooks: Take Their Pals to Court

Noah Shachtman
Noah Shachtman Former Brookings Expert, Executive Editor - The Daily Beast

July 26, 2011

The best way to stop the tide of global cybercrime may be to sue the pants off of the hosting companies and Internet Service Providers Online that are backing the crooks.

That’s the central conclusion of my policy paper, out today from the Brookings Institution. (You can find a very condensed version in Sunday’s Washington Post.)

No one knows exactly how big the cybercrime underground is. But it is huge. According to the British government, online thieves, scammers, and industrial spies cost U.K. businesses an estimated $43.5 billion in the last year alone. Crooks-for-hire will infect a thousand computers for seven dollars – that’s how simple it’s become. 60,000 new malicious software variants are detected every day, thanks in part to a new breed of crimeware that makes stealing passwords about as hard as setting up a web page. Even the Pentagon’s specialists are worried, noting in their new cybersecurity strategy that “the tools and techniques developed by cyber criminals are increasing in sophistication at an incredible rate.”

Top U.S. officials keep bleating about a digital “Pearl Harbor.” But if we’re not careful, the internet could be in danger of looking like the South Bronx, circa 1989 – a place where crooks hold such sway that honest people find it hard to live or work there.

Read the full article at >>