Antiphishing group develops e-crime reporting tool

A group dedicated to fighting phishing scams has developed a way for police and other organizations to report e-crime in a common data format.

A group dedicated to fighting phishing scams has developed a way for police and other organizations to report e-crimes in a common data format readable by a Web browser or other application.

The challenge facing law enforcement and security organizations is a lack of a coherent reporting system, said Peter Cassidy, secretary general of the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), a consortium that tracks Internet fraud and scams.

Until now, there was no standard way to file an e-crime report. That makes it hard to coordinate the vast amount of data that is collected on cybercrime, Cassidy said.

APWG decided to develop a terminal file format for e-crime incidents. APWG wanted reports to have unambiguous time stamps, support for different languages, support for attaching malware and the ability to classify the kind of fraud and the company brand that was being attacked, Cassidy said.

APWG couldn't find an existing data model that was perfect. But the group did see potential for the XML-based Instant Object Description Exchange Format (IODEF), which was already being used by computer incident response teams to report adverse network events.

"It had a lot of the things we needed," Cassidy said.

APWG has created some extensions to IODEF to cover its other needs.

Once the data is in a common file format, it's easy to coordinate and sort through vast amounts of it, Cassidy said. It also means humans have to do less manual sorting and opens the potential to use data-mining tools, he said.

"We can start making machines do a lot of the work for us," Cassidy said.

For example, if a law enforcement agency wants all the reports for a phishing scam attacking a certain brand, another agency can just do a search in their database and quickly share the data, enabling faster response to e-crime.

"The whole idea of the exercise in having a common file format is that we could share information in an automated way," Cassidy said.

APWG is also creating tools to let people convert existing reports in a different format to the new format without having to do their own programming.

The project, which was started by APWG in 2003, has now been submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force, which will likely approve the format as a non-proprietary standard usable by anyone, Cassidy said. The IETF could make a decision within two to six weeks.

If the format doesn't become widely used, collecting e-crime reports is going to continue to be "a long, grinding process," Cassidy said.

"We think it's a good start," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags antiphishing

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

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?