CeBIT 2011: Joint taskforce needed on cybercrime: A-G secretary

Roger Wilkins in talks with banks to form local version of CIFAS

The federal Attorney-General's department has proposed the formation of a national online fraud taskforce that will include banks, internet service providers (ISPs) and merchants.

Attorney-General secretary, Roger Wilkins, told attendees at CeBIT this week that the taskforce would enable parties to understand the threats and know what to do once they arise.

"We are looking at CIFAS, which is a UK voluntary body that spreads information about fraud from banks and financial institutions," he said.

"There have been discussions with financial institutions in Australia already, but it won't be run exactly the way that CIFAS is.

"Government is playing a key role with facilitating discussions with financial institutions."

Wilkins did not put a timeframe on when the Australian version of CIFAS would be created, but said there had been recognition this is a good first step by financial institutions.

"I suspect that it [CIFAS] is something that might grow," he said.

"You start with some of the key financial institutions and then others will join."

Wilkins also called for more international engagement on cybercrime and said radical change was needed at a national level, such as the example of a joint taskforce on child sex offenders, which drew together police from Queensland, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, and the US.

"There was, for all intents and purposes, a joint taskforce where people could bring to bear the powers they could utilise in their own jurisdiction," he said.

"There needs to be more of that sort of thinking in relation to law enforcement at that level."

While Wilkins said the European Convention on Cybercrime, a treaty signed between 40 countries, was an important step in the exchange of information, but he warned that Australia would need to go much further.

"We are pushing hard for people to sign up to that convention," he said.

"Fundamentally, however, my view is that the issues around security, whether it is the low end of the spectrum such as consumer protection or at the high end such as cyber warfare, will come down to technological and system solutions and business models."

His comments follow those of Attonery-General, Robert McClelland, who has also pushed for more engagement with international bodies, such as taking part in exercises like Cyberstorm III, which was conducted last year with the US Department of Homeland Security.

See photos and all the action from the event.

Got a security tip-off? Contact Hamish Barwick at hamish_barwick at

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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