Proposed US law would single out cybercrime havens

Under the law, the White House would track countries that are soft on cybercrime

A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate Tuesday would compel the White House to identify international cybercrime havens and establish plans for cleaning them up.

The International Cybercrime Reporting and Cooperation Act takes on a growing problem for banks and U.S. businesses: the ability for cybercriminals to operate with impunity across international borders. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, and Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah.

In recent years, cybercriminals have mastered techniques for hacking into consumer and small-business bank accounts and moving money overseas. They have also become adept at converting hacked personal computers into botnet computer networks, which then can be used for spam, distributed denial of service attacks and ID theft.

The bill would shine a spotlight on countries that are thought to be soft on cybercrime and introduce new protocols for addressing the problem.

Under the proposed legislation, the president would provide an annual assessment on international cybercrime and would be able to suspend aid, financing or trade programs with countries that fail to improve.

"Other countries aren't going after these criminals at all," Gillibrand said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday. "We need the help of Russia and China and all of our other countries to be able to create protocols to crack down on cybercriminals."

Emerging cybercrime regions -- those with a low adoption of information technologies -- would be prioritized under the law.

The act has the support of U.S. companies now being hit by cyberfraud, including American Express, Mastercard, Visa and eBay. Facebook, Microsoft, Cisco and Hewlett-Packard also support the bill, Gillibrand's office said.

Although no timeline has been set, House representatives want to introduce their version of the act, according to Judith Kargbo, a spokeswoman for Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, a Democrat from New York. "We're definitely planning on introducing a similar bill," she said.

Cyberinvestigators agree that international cooperation is a major stumbling block when it comes to attacking computer crime, but it's not clear that the bill's unfunded mandates would have a significant effect on known cybercrime havens such as Russia, the Ukraine and Nigeria.

It could, however, encourage cooperation among local law enforcement by pressuring countries that are known to be soft on cybercrime to take action, said Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute. "It has some very good stuff in it," he said. "The public visibility could provide an incentive for more communication, and once the cops meet each other, they get along great."

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has recently stepped up efforts to embed cyberinvestigators with foreign agencies -- sending agents to Estonia, the Ukraine and the Netherlands.

And cooperation with Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) seems to be improving. After years of inaction, the FSB recently arrested Viktor Pleshchuk of St. Petersburg in connection with a 2008 attack on payment processor RBS WorldPay, which netted criminals US$9.5 million in a matter of hours.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags USA governmentsecuritylegalcybercrime

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?