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Russia to help fight and combat cybercrime

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April 12, 2010

Russia says it wants to tighten up the admitted shortcomings of local cybercrime laws and build a stronger international cooperation, in an effort to better fight cybercrime in all forms.

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The RAEC (Russian Association of Electronic Communications) was established four years ago to speed up Russia’s integration into the global Internet economy. The association has more than 35 members, including leading Russian ISP Mail.Ru, social network outfits, news agencies ITAR-TASS and RIA Novosti, and Internet security firm Kaspersky Lab.

RAEC has set out an ambitious protection program to help shape Russian Internet regulations, provide mediation in copyright and eCommerce disputes, promote Internet security and help support the development of legitimate IT businesses in Russia.

Dmitry Zakharov, director of communications at RAEC, says that the prevalence of cybercrime activities in Russia is hurting the country's image abroad, not just in business but also in other aspects as well.

"The inherent issues at the moment is that we aren't able to offer technology jobs to the people that would be the most qualified at this time, so they get involved in illegal activity," Zakharov said. "Not many of them want to be criminals but Russia is relatively young as a capitalist economy and there are not enough normal and civilized occupations, at least for now."

And that's the heart of the real problem.

Anywhere between 10,000 to 20,000 people are estimated to work in the underground economy in Russia, assisting illicit activities including selling scareware, committing bank fraud activities, pushing pharmacy spam and Viagra, selling pornagraphy paraphenelia and more.

RAEC is backing the establishment of a Russian Silicon Valley (Technopark) project, near Moscow, that it's hoped will offer thousands of legitimate jobs in technology within five years. Those that stay in the black economy need to be prosecuted, and this requires new legislation.

"We have some new laws that describe hacking actions, like taking commercial data, but they are not good enough," Zakharov said. "The law isn't clear at all on many of its definitions. And it's also rather complex to many people in the Internet security industry."

Zakharov says "the problem is economic. We have to offer jobs. Those that remain will be persued if they still want to act like criminals."

Also, copyright protection laws are needed and codes of conduct for ISPs are also needed, Zakharov said, adding that RAEC is in discussion with Internet firms about "lowering" copyright violations while laws in the area undergo major changes.

An example of Internet law modifications in Russia comes from recently applied regulations to tighten up domain name registrations. From April 1st, copies of passports or legal registration papers for businesses are needed to register a .ru domain.

Previously, all domains were set up without any checks, a shortcoming that played into the hands of spammers and other cybercriminals.

Zakharov added "I can now assure you that spam domains don't live long. The much tighter regulations prevent cybercriminals from holding money in anonymous accounts, used to register many domains at once for spamming or other illegal activity. The tighter regulation is an effective measure."

In the coming months, it will be interesting to observe how the Russian government will be implementing these tougher new measures, the tools and methods used and how effective it will be at prosecuting cyber crooks and then sending them to jail, along with some stiff monetary penalties.

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Source: The Government of Russia.

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