Meet local - act global: CAST eV on Internet Crime

Yesterday I had the pleasure to attend this year's last CAST workshop in Darmstadt, Germany. CAST, Competence Center for Applied Security Technology, is a non-profit organization that provides security information for its members as well as the broader public. CAST is led by representatives of academia (Technical University of Darmstadt) and applied research (Fraunhofer SIT and IGD) as well as corporate and SME members. Yesterdays' event had "cybercrime and forensics" as headlines and the keynote was delivered by the famous president of the Federal Policy of Germany, Joerg Zierke (who attracted quite a number of additional participants, obsviously). Zierke talked a lot about why Germany is very special with regard to cybercrime: on the one hand, internet safety and security is quite mature here, compared with the UK, US or other leading countries. On the other hand, criminal activity also is very elaborate and specialized individuals co-operate in ever changing teams - cross-border and and cross-competence. The president brought lots of evidence for his claims, especially regarding trojans "hand-crafted" to target German banks, browser data-manipulation and online-fraud in general. While creating giggles and smirks when claiming DDoS attacks were executed with emails (aka using smtp), he showed substantial knowledge of the threats and attacks currently seen. Zierke went on to showcase cases of child-pornography and "real" terrorist activity and explained communication schemes of these cells. Impressive, scary and at the same time disturbingly "close"... Anyway, he lost my support (and I guess most of the others as well) when he drew the conclusion that all this could only be tackled, handled and investigated, if the much-discussed BKA-law (comparable to the patriot-act in the US) would be set into place. From this rather general talk, the topics went into more and more detail, ranging from judicial analysis of new cyber-laws, a presentation about their use in jurisdiction across business-related fraud detection (impressive presentation by PwC!) up to forensic analysic of digital photography. All in all the event covered a breadth of topics I rarely see anywhere else. All that I missed was the INTERnational perspective, hence the topic of my post :-) I can only urge lawyers, forensic specialists, cryptanalysts and politicians/judges/law enforcement (LE) to work closer together. Especially expert advice of all of the former groups to the latter three is needed. LE is usually drowning in open cases, judges have no clue what goes on "in the internets" and politicians are seldomly aware of what evil might lurk behind that link (or what good can be created through others). Experts of all cyber-related technologies are needed as advisors and subject matter experts! Do not ask what this community can do for you (e.g. tax-cuts ;-) ) - ask your judges, police-officers and politicians what you can do for them! WARNING: you might end up explaining to your "senator-of-choice" how to send email...lets' not talk about using S/MIME or PGP here ;-)



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