Data privacy legislation hampering cyber crime prevention: ACC

Information security gathering and management shaping up as the new battleground in the fight against organised crime, the Australian Crime Commission says

Organised crime groups have penetrated law enforcement bodies, and authorities are helpless to fight back due to restrictive data privacy legislation, according to the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) chief executive, John Lawler.

In a keynote speech at the International Serious and Organised Crime Conference in Melbourne last week, Lawler admitted that organised crime groups had penetrated law enforcement systems in the past, including those of the ACC.

“We have examples of where that has unfortunately occured, both in our key sectors but also within law enforcement and within the ACC and its predecessors,” he said.

“They will have done their risk mitigation strategies and indeed if they have trusted insiders or internal facilitators or people that would act corruptly, including from within law enforcement, that would be seen as a great prize.”

The ACC has worked with other law enforcement bodies in Australia to reduce this risk by updating its ICT systems and governance structures, but he admits that more needs to be done.

“We’ve also done some very good work with our board in ensuring some of our ICT, gateways and mechanisms for protecting that infrastructure from deliberate targeting from organised crime and others, is the best we can have it," he said.

He said one area where law enforcement is hampered is by the limited ability to share information across agencies and departments because of privacy legislation, a disability exploited by organised crime groups.

“I would argue it is exactly these safeguards that provide the unforeseen edge for organised criminality,” he said. “They know that law enforcement can't have the full picture, they know we can't access all the disparate personal information in government data management systems across the country.

“They know this hampers our ability to connect the dots, see the trend to analyse and provide the lifeblood for wide-ranging investigations and they leverage off this.”

However, he said the lack of information available could addressed by work being done in the Attorney-General Department, which is exploring the possibility of developing a website for victims to report cyber attacks.

This information is invaluable for fighting cyber crime but it is usually reported to online vendors such as eBay who are not required to pass it onto the authorities, he said.

"We want them to report these instances, we want that information and we need that data," he said.

“Where you have a bulk crime, the actual reporting of that crime and how it gets responded to and the expectations of the victim, are all things that need to be managed."

It wasn’t clear whether the information would be used to assemble statistics on cyber crime trends or used to inform investigations, he said.

"There will be some reports that come in and necessitate and require an investigative response and some will be used for statistical analysis used to inform the regulatory, policy and legislative frameworks.

"Most importantly the data will be used to identify preventative strategies and put those in place."

Problems with cyber crime statistics and data also extends to the vast amount of security research and information published by corporations, organisations and governments, according to Australian Institute of Criminology Senior research analyst, Dr Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo.

Choo said the data released by companies contains different definitions and cover different aspects of cyber crime, which makes it difficult for researchers and agencies to properly identify the emerging trends.

“Different reports put out by different organisations or companies, for example the Australian Bureau of Statistics have a national personal fraud survey that was just released, IBM release one once every quarter or half year, Symantec as well, Microsoft, have their own as well; you name it, you have it.

“One thing if you realise after going through all these different reports, they have different definitions and cover different aspects of cyber crime. Not that there's anything wrong in that.

“If we have a more consistent way of collecting the data, we can compare it in a more consistent and meaningful way.”

He said that a standard approach to producing and distributing data would help to put the information in a more meaningful context and allow governments and organisations to better respond to problems.

“The cyber security landscape is changing so fast, as researchers you find it difficult to keep track of what's going on. If we have a more complete picture of the cyber trend landscape, it will help us to formulate our responses and to drive out measures for educational advice."

Lawler and Choo also used their respective keynotes at the conference to warn of legislative gaps when fighting against cyber attacks on data held in cloud-based services.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags data privacyAustralian Crime Commissionlegislation

More about Attorney-GeneralAustralian Bureau of StatisticseBayIBM AustraliaIBM AustraliaMicrosoftSymantec

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Mahesh Sharma

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts