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 Friday, July 27, 2007

A report released Monday by Government Accountability Office (GAO), a congressional research and investigation agency, reveals that cybercrime (computer crime, identity theft and phishing) costs the U.S. economy US$117.5 billion a year.

"These projected losses are based on direct and indirect costs that may include actual money stolen, estimated cost of intellectual property stolen, and recovery cost of repairing or replacing damaged networks and equipment," says the report, released through the offices of Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the committee on Homeland Security, and James R. Langevin (D-R.I.), chairman of the subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science and Technology. However, according to the lead author of the report, GAO Director of IT Management Issues David A. Powner, the staggering losses pegged to cybercrime may even be worse than estimated. "Whatever is reported by organizations, most of that will likely be underreported because of disincentives to report losses," he says.

The GAO report also acknowledges that certain personnel policies at federal law enforcement agencies may be hurting the fight against cybercrime. "[S]taff rotation policies at key law enforcement agencies may hinder the agencies' abilities to retain analytical and technical capabilities supporting law enforcement," the report observes. "In order to address the challenge of ensuring adequate law enforcement analytical and technical capabilities," it continues, "we are recommending that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security reassess and modify, as appropriate, current rotation policies to retain key expertise necessary to investigate and prosecute cybercrime."

Read the full article at E-Commerce Times.