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Gartner invents new type of cybercrime

Economic mass victimisation

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Within two years the world will see an incident of "economic mass victimisation" affecting thousands of surfers, but the perpetrators will never be caught.

This may sound like something from a James Bond film, but the prediction actually springs from top thinkers at the Gartner Group.

Gartner researchers reckon that with the way technology is developing, a "new class of cybercrimes aimed at mass victimisation" is inevitable. They forecast at least one such incident, affecting thousands of Internet users, will occur by the end of 2002.

What's more, Gartner expects the guilty party to get away Scott-free "due to a lack of adequate preparation by international law enforcement officials".

According to Richard Hunter, Gartner research fellow: "Using mundane, readily available technologies that have already been deployed by both legitimate and illegitimate businesses, cybercriminals can now surreptitiously steal millions of dollars, a few dollars at a time, from millions of individuals simultaneously."

The study warns that the economic value represented by cybercrimes will have increased by up to 10,000 per cent by the end of 2004, while cyberpolice funding will remain inadequate.

The annual US budget for fighting Internet-related crime is unlikely to exceed one per cent of the total Federal law enforcement budget, "an amount insufficient to fund even necessary cybercrime research," states Gartner.

It recommends surfers install a personal firewall on their computer, monitor financial transactions frequently and use a credit card with a low credit limit when shopping on the Web. ®

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