Cybercrime victims urged to come forward

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Cybercrime victims urged to come forward

Crimes are 'under-reported', says legal chief.

The same social taboos that cause under-reporting of rapes are behind the reluctance of many organisations to pursue malicious hackers through the courts, the NSW director of public prosecutions told a Sydney symposium today.

Nicholas Cowdery said it's "terribly important" for victims of cybercrime to report it even if they suffered embarrassment by going public.

"Corporations don't want the public embarrassment of coming forward and admitting that their systems were compromised and there was some loss so they won't take the next step," Cowdery told delegates to the eCrime Symposium.

Cowdery said legislators and law enforcement should consider if under-age offenders should face adult penalties if the results of their hacking had serious consequences.

He pointed to the constant rate of about 100 murders a year in NSW over the past 100 years as evidence there would always be some online criminal activity but the goal was to "try to keep it within acceptable bounds".

But he shot down the notion that a national internet content filter was a useful tool to stem online fraud.

"Crime prevention methods that are put forward or suggested need first to be practical," Cowdery said.

"Talk[ing] of filters and blocking mechanisms - I think ultimately in a society like ours, in contrast with China, are going to have very limited if any success in achieving the aims that the proponents set out for them.

"By all means let's examine ways in which offending can be limited but we have to do it within the context of our legal system, philosophy, values we hold dear such as freedom of ... association, freedom of communication and try to get the right balance."

Nate Cochrane @natecochrane is tweeting live from the eCrime Symposium.

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