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US internet crime report has high applicability to the UK

InfoSecurity Europe : 08 April, 2009  (Technical Article)
InfoSecurity Europe director comments on the recent report from the US Internet Crime Complaint Centre and its applicability to businesses in the UK
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Tamar Beck, Group Event Director, Infosecurity Europe says the recommendations of the recently released Internet crime report from the Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) in the US are highly applicable to the UK.

'The US report makes some very useful recommendations, especially in Appendix 2, when it talks about the best practices to prevent Internet crime,' she said.

'We suggest that business users of the Internet download the report from the Internet and read through the recommendations, especially those that relate to business usage,' she added.

According to Beck, comments such as not judging a company based on their `fancy Web site' are very appropriate to UK businesses, since it is now possible to assemble a very slick Web site using one of the several Internet site hosting kits now available.

This means, she explained, that it is perfectly possible for a rogue trader to create a Web site that purports to be a large and well established company, when in fact the site kit has cost the trader around 40 pounds including a year's Web site hosting.

Suggestions that firms do not place orders on the Internet unless the trader publishes their full address and phone number, she went on to say, are very valid.

A lot of Internet users, including businesses, she says, are unaware that any UK company with a Web site must publish this information on their pages, as well as on all emails sent out to customers.

This has been a provision of the Companies Act and has been in place since the start of 2007, she explained, adding that since 01/01/07, firms must include their full details on their Web sites and in their email footers, or face a hefty fine.

The recommendation that businesses try to obtain a physical address, rather than a Post Office box is also very valid, she said, adding that, although it costs upwards of 100 pounds a year to rent a PO box, it is common for firms to rent out their boxes to third party firms, so opening the door to possible fraud.

'It's also now possible to register a limited UK company electronically for 25 pounds or less, go to the bank and set up a free business bank account, and cash cash cheques immediately. Add in the ability to access card payments through a number of Internet services, and you have a perfect recipe for fraud,' she said.

'Many companies trade quite legitimately on the Internet, but firms wanting to save money - especially in these tough economic times - may end up buying from a company whose prices look too good to be true. Our advice is to download this report, read it thoroughly and apply the recommendations on a company-wide basis,' she added.
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