Internet security leader McAfee Inc. last week released its year-end annual cyber security study — and the tidings are neither comforting nor joyous.

One of the main overall findings of the study is that politicians and other authorities that might be acting to fight cyber crime are, instead, preoccupoied with the global economic crisis. The result?

“…The recession is proving a hotbed for fraudulent activity as cybercriminals capitalize on a climate of consumer fear and anxiety. … Unless significant resources are committed to international efforts to fight malicious cyber activity, there is a risk that cybercrime will impact consumer confidence, further hindering the speed of global recovery in 2009.”

Among the other findings of the McAfee Virtual Criminology Report 2008:

  • Cybercriminals are cashing in on consumer anxiety to profit from old fashioned ‘get rich quick’ scams.
  • Police forces on the front line often lack the specialist skills required to effectively fight cybercrime.
  • Russia and China have become key safe havens for cybercriminals while Brazil has become one of the fastest growing ‘scapegoat’ countries for cybercrime.
  • Problems are expanding exponentially — law enforcement is bound to physical national boundaries, while cybercriminals cooperate quickly and easily across borders.

McAfee CEO and President Dave DeWalt warned, “Governments need to commit to funding the resources needed to combat cybercrime. Bureaucratic bodies need to be rationalized and harmonized, and police forces need to be coordinated across boundaries. Everyone must play their part in a global battle that has only just begun and will continue long into 2009 and beyond if it’s not properly addressed.”

The McAfee Virtual Criminology Report 2008 is available for download at the McAfee Web site.

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