The need for global standards defining and punishing cyber crimes is evident in face of increasingly frequent attacks by hackers from around the world, according to Tom Noonan, president of Atlanta-based Internet Security Systems Inc.

Mr. Noonan highlighted, during a Nov. 21 conference on cybersecurity, the case of a 16-year-old Canadian hacker, known publicly only as “Mafiaboy,” to demonstrate the need for better cooperation in global cybersecurity:

“Mafiaboy” took down half the Internet in the United States with a denial-of-service attack in 2000, he explained, but the U.S. could not extradite him because what he did was not considered a crime in Canada.

Likewise, the creator of the “lovebug virus,” which wreaked havoc on computer systems around the world in 2000, escaped harsh punishment because he lived in the Philippines, which similarly has few laws pertaining to cyber crime.

“The bottom line is that these attacks affect business,” Mr. Noonan told an audience of businesspersons during his presentation at a cybersecurity conference in Buckhead, sponsored Nov. 21 by the Southern Center for International Studies.

 “There is strong support from the G8 countries to set baseline standards for unauthorized entry and to determine what constitutes a crime in cyberspace,” he said, but added that no overall strategy has yet been agreed upon to solve the problem.

Mr. Noonan is currently involved in the development of the U.S. government’s National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace.  A draft of the document can be found at

Mr. Noonan’s company, Internet Security Systems, established in 1995, provides computer security services to the U.S. government, as well as 36 other governments around the world.

He noted, however, that ISS has won more awards for international growth than domestic growth, simply because U.S. citizens – and therefore companies – until recently, never had a sense of being “under attack.”

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