Sunday, 7 October 2012

Britain, Hungary seek more cybersecurity

Budapest, Hungary - Tough economic times are heightening the need for more and better international efforts to counter ever-rising cybercrime, Britain and Hungary said this week.

Official representatives of the two nations will be among the more than 600 participants attending this week's Budapest Conference on Cyberspace, which is attracting international business, government and organization leaders to brainstorm the potential and pitfalls of the world's reliance on the Internet.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague and his Hungarian counterpart Janos Martonyi said Tuesday they will be seeking to build on the agenda first discussed at last year's London Conference on Cyberspace.

That event focused on the Internet's growth and development, its social benefits and how to ensure safe and reliable access for all -- those topics will again be examined in Budapest.

Two other panels will again address cybercrime and international security, with latest emerging threats to be discussed.

Those threats must be urgently addressed as economically stressed Europeans increasingly turn to the Internet for the necessary functions of work and life, Hague and Martonyi wrote in a joint statement.

"Our meeting comes at crucial time," they said. "The global economic climate means we must work harder to maintain and enhance the benefits of the Internet for all.

"And as cybercrime increases, we must work together to address a threat that does not recognize national borders, is costing the world economy billions of Euros every year and the numbers and sophistication of cyberattacks on national infrastructures is rising all the time."

The security threat, they said, cannot be ignored, even though European governments also remain committed to "transparency, open information and the free exchange of ideas" in cyberspace.

"London was the start of a process. This week we take the next step," they said. "We hope (Budapest) will be a major milestone in building a broad, international consensus on the future of cyberspace."

There is consensus that cybercrime is major problem in Hungary. A 2010 study indicated that among the nations with the most online crime, it ranked 10th, the Hungarian news service MTI reported.

The country also was ranked ninth-worst in the world terms of data "phishing." Five percent of its websites were found to be engaging in the practice, in which sensitive data is illegally collected from viewers. That was up from 1 percent in 2008.

Budapest attendees will be identifying key emerging threats -- especially those posed to "regional and international organizations" -- as well as exchanging information on specific threats aimed at mobile Internet users.

That focus comes as a report indicated Hungarians who use their mobile phones to access the Internet are among the fastest-growing segments of cybercrime victims. The online security company Symantec said in February they are particularly at risk, with criminal attacks on mobile phones up 42 percent since 2009.

Another report found that worldwide, men 18-30 years old accessing the Internet through their mobile phones are particularly vulnerable, with four-out-of-five becoming cybercrime victims, the English-language Budapest Times reported.

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