Senate bill seeks crack down on cybercrime havens
Economic penalties for 'countries of concern'
Foreign countries that turn a blind eye to cybercrime would lose US financial assistance and resources under a bill introduced Tuesday in the Senate.
The International Cybercrime Reporting and Cooperation Act would require the President to identify "countries of cyber concern" and to plot a course to help each one get tougher on cybercrime. Those that don't reach prescribed benchmarks would face economic penalties in the form of cuts to trade assistance grants, US export dollars and foreign-direct investment funds.
The bill is sponsored by Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, and Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah. It has the support of about a dozen companies, including Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, eBay, Visa, and Mastercard.
It comes almost one year after senators introduced a separate bill that would establish a broad set of cybersecurity standards designed to bolster US cybersecurity. The bill, which was introduced by Democrat Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine, has yet to make it out of the Senate Commerce Committee.
The bills are intended to crack down on people who commit computer-based bank fraud, remote attacks on the networks of US-based citizens and businesses, and other types of cybercrime. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office estimates the US businesses lost $67.2bn as a result of cyberattacks in 2005.
A long-standing hurdle in the campaign to curb cybercrime has been shutting down the networks that cater to bot herders and to arrest criminals who are located in certain foreign countries.
The International Cybercrime Reporting and Cooperation Act is intended to encourage counties to cooperate more with US law enforcement officials. It would require the President to issue a report every year that assesses the state of various countries' use of information and communications technologies in critical infrastructure, the amount of cybercrime based in each country and the effectiveness of each country's law enforcement in policing those crimes.
The President would be required to develop an action plan for any country of concern, although the President could waive the requirement if the waiver was based on national interest.
It would also require the Secretary of State to designate a senior official at the State Department to coordinate an international policy combating cybercrime. ®
I suspect this Bill might carry more weight
Where it not for the fact that a vast portion of global cyber crime is carried out using machines located inside the United States. They may be controlled by criminals outside that nation's borders, this is true - but when the off-switch, to much of the world's bot nets, lies within your own reach, then the cry from other nations might well be, that if the physician will not heal himself, will he at least turn off his bloody life-support?
No more US aid to US itself...
... because far too many US-based ISPs couldn't care less if their customers' computers are botnet-infested zombies. As far as these ISPs are concerned, it's one of those "not my problem" things.
ISPs are practically aiding and abetting criminal activity by not at *least* notifying customers when a problem is brought to the attention of the ISP.
Couldn't that be a national security risk to the US, having all those US computers being controlled by some botmaster who may or may not wish to cause damage to the US?
The only time some ISPs pay attention is if zombie activity causes enough traffic for some bandwidth cap to be exceeded. In fact, that's often the only time the *customers* care if their own computers are infected - I've lost track of how many times I've heard people say, "I'm not worried about viruses [malware] because there's nothing on my computer worth stealing." They don't know, and don't care, about botnets etc.
For individuals *and* ISPs, it seems that as long as it doesn't affect them directly, it's business as usual, nevermind that the ISP's customers are unwitting participants in criminal activity.
There are so many do-gooding UN-style "non-profits" out there you could never 'crack down' on anything.
Theres alot of US internet steering groups that funnel money from the US to foreign countries to deploy internet connectivity.
Alot of this goes through the NSF or through other grants.
One of the groups we watch is in a sure-fire hurry to get the internet back on in haiti as fast as possible.
I've never been to haiti, I know it's rated about the poorest country in the world. I would have to say high-speed internet is probably one of the last things they could use at about this time.
But hey that's just me, in case you haven't watched the US news lately, Washington DC is a crime haven itself.
Did I mention the money used for this type of stuff is stolen from the taxpayers of the US? Don't worry, when you see those spam emails come in at 3am from south america it should just make you feel good that they have the internet they need to spam and scam you.