Under-resourced police could turn to civilian militia to help fight cybercrime, according to former Queensland University of Technology professor Bill Caelli.
Speaking to SC Magazine ahead of his presentation at the AusCERT conference last week, Caelli raised the notion as a means of using security professionals to assist authorities in fighting cybercrime.
The concept dates back more than 100 years, when the civilian groups were used in both Australia and the US to ensure public safety. Able-bodied and firearm-trained men would be recruited by sheriffs to assist authorities in arresting felons.
The powers to form such groups still exist and reside in agencies such as the Office of the Sheriff of NSW and, according to Caelli, such powers are an apt fit for local attempts to dispel online attacks.
“The local police can't be experts in everything,” Caelli said.
“They can't all be experts in Android for example.”
Such specific skillsets already exist within the private sector and a posse of security professionals could help improve cybercrime investigations.
He said authorities in Estonia were already co-opting private sector security experts.
Similarly, security firms and researchers have for years done the heavy-lifting in collecting evidence to take-down botnets, and fraud and child exploitation networks, providing evidence to law enforcement for action.
Moreover, Caelli pointed out that internet service providers were already a form of information security militia.
Under the voluntary iCode framework, telcos are required to monitor their networks for malicious traffic sprouting from customer machines and help customers remove infections.
Also speaking at AusCERT 2012, F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hypponen pointed out the difficulty in providing support to governments on cybersecurity matters while sovereign powers built their own ability to distribute exploits and trojans aimed at their own constituents.