White collar crime has become relative child's play with the advent of the Internet. There are fears that computer crime will rise as our society becomes more dependent on the web.This content was published on November 17, 1999 - 09:56
White collar crime has become relative child's play with the advent of the Internet. There are fears that computer crime will rise as our society becomes more dependent on the web.
Already today, computer criminals can hack into key systems which ensure our water supplies, communication and transport networks, or national security.
A private foundation, InfoSurance, has just been set up in Switzerland to protect against such crime. But it has nothing to do with insurance. According to its chairman, Professor Kurt Bauknecht of Zurich university, it is intended to be more of an early warning system.
"We give advice to people, to try to educate people about which measures to take to combat computer crime," he said.
Bauknecht said computer criminals are a diverse lot - from computer whiz kids looking for kicks trying to hack into national security systems, to organised crime exercising computer blackmail, and industrial espionage.
The Internet age has made it even easier for these thieves and saboteurs to operate. "The criminals can interrupt connections, release viruses, going through the back door of our computer systems, so to speak." said Bauknecht.
As pickpockets like to prey on unsuspecting tourists, computer criminals find many companies and organisations easy targets. Managers and directors, keen not to be left behind by the info-revolution, ensure their offices have the latest computer technology.
However, they're often entering a new world. Bauknecht said they are often unaware of the inherent dangers, therefore unable to take the necessary precautions against crime.
Bauknecht hopes InfoSurance will make managers more aware so they can implement safety measures. He said the threat posed by the millenium bug pales in comparison to the challenge posed by computer crime.
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