Magazine article Security Management

Gauging Computer Crime

Magazine article Security Management

Gauging Computer Crime

Article excerpt

The booty engenders gangland style battles by international syndicates and fetches top dollar on the street. As demand grows and the stakes escalate, dealers and suppliers turn increasingly to violence to mark their territories and maintain their supply lines.

Sound like international drug rings? Think again. The thieves and peddlers are high-tech, and their spoils of choice are the high-priced computer chips, disk drives, and computer systems that are fueling the global information explosion. But their methods are increasingly gangland, ranging from kidnapping to hijacking to armed robbery.

While the Technology Theft Prevention Foundation - a group comprising representatives from law enforcement, insurance companies, and the electronics industry - estimates theft of chips, disk drives, and computer systems at about $8 billion per year worldwide, no organization has systematically quantified the problem, says John O'Loughlin, CPP, corporate security director for Sun Microsystems, Mountain View, California.

That may be about to change. The International Electronics Security Group (IESG), an alliance of eighteen high-tech manufacturers of semiconductors, computer systems, and disk drives, has joined forces with the American Electronics Association, the National Electronic Distributors Association, and other groups to fund a study that will examine how severely theft is affecting the industry worldwide. The study, to be conducted by the RAND Corporation, is expected to take until September 1998 to complete, though preliminary data may be available as soon as June 1997. …

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