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August 25, 2008

Purdue Expert

Cybercrime, effects on economy

Written news tip below:
As cybersecurity gains in importance, global cooperation key

Video at left, expert discusses:
• Cybercrime's effects on the economy and consumers
• Damage caused by cybercrime
• Career opportunities

News tip: As cybersecurity gains in importance, global cooperation key

WEST LAFAYETTE - A Purdue University expert on computer security says that as cybercrime takes on a more global nature, it's more important than ever that governments around the world work together to combat the problem.

"We're seeing much larger scale fraud and criminal behavior that has an international aspect to it," says Eugene H. Spafford, the executive director of Purdue's CERIAS (Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security). "We're also seeing a larger amount of espionage, both industrial espionage and nationally funded espionage. So, it's increasingly vital that global leaders take these threats seriously, put some resources into fighting cybercrime and cooperate with one another."

No group -- from home computer users, to corporations to the government -- is immune to cybercrime, he says. A recent study by the National Research Council suggests that computer crime is a drag on the U.S. economy by billions of dollars.

"As we're heading into what may be a recession, this is an area that should be of concern because it affects costs that are passed on to consumers," Spafford says.

One national threat, he says, is the possibility of criminals getting into systems critical to the U.S. Department of Defense, utility companies and the banking industry.

"It would be unlikely to bring the United States to a halt, but it could certainly be damaging," Spafford says of such criminal activity.

Because of the increased volume of cyber attacks, Spafford says new talent is needed in the computer security field.

"The whole area of computing, technology, security technology and reliable computing is one that has tremendous growth possibilities in the United States and around the world," he says. "In the areas of law enforcement and national defense we need a lot of talent."


More about Eugene H. Spafford,
Executive Director, Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

Eugene Spafford is executive director of Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, one of the world's leading centers for research and education in areas of information security. His research has focused on issues related to securing computers, networks and their data against criminal activities and failures.

Spafford has testified before various Congressional committees, advised agencies within the executive branch and worked with the U.S. military. He has served on technical advisory boards for the president, the U.S. Air Force and the FBI Regional Cybercrime Forensic Laboratory.

Spafford is frequently quoted in national media on cybersecurity issues. He has been a source for ABC News, CNN, the BBC and Canadian Broadcasting Co., along with national and regional NPR radio. He has appeared on several documentaries and has been quoted in Newsweek, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and Times of London, among other publications.


Writer: Jim Bush, (765) 494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu