How the internet economy is under threat


3 Jun 2008

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Understanding what malware (malicious software) is, along with the risks it poses and how to combat the threat, is all-important for businesses and governments alike, according to a newly-released report from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

The OECD report investigates and profiles the global, multimillion euro criminal malware industry.

The report calls for global partnership against malicious software, saying that “communities involved in fighting malware offer essentially a fragmented local response to a global threat.”

One suggestion is for all OECD member countries to sign and ratify the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime, which will harmonise international cybercrime law.

To date, 25 out of 30 countries have signed the convention but only eight have actually ratified it. Ireland, along with the UK, is one of the 35 that signed this document back in 2002 but has yet to ratify, while the US, as a non-member state of the Council of Europe, has both signed and ratified the convention.

The report found that while the straightforward computer virus only accounts for 9pc of the security threats out there, the Trojan virus is on the increase, representing 45pc of the type of malicious codes attacking OECD countries by volume. However, there has been an exponential increase in the worm virus.

Of the top five malware in 2007, malicious websites accounted for almost 60pc, while spyware only accounted for 6pc.

Although harmonised law in this area is needed, the OECD also calls for internet service providers (ISPs) and domain name registrars to come up with common codes of national and international practice that could curb this growing threat.

By Marie Boran

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