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Executive games could help stem cybercrime, FIRST experts told


Kyoto, Japan – June 30, 2009. Senior executives should play special computer games and watch animations to help them understand the scale of the threat from cyber-crime and win their support for improvements in security, one of Japan’s top Internet protection experts said yesterday at the 21st annual conference of FIRST, the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams.
Dr Suguru Yamaguchi, member and adviser on information security at the Japanese Cabinet Office National Information Security Centre, was giving the opening keynote address at the five-day conference, which got underway at the Hotel Granvia, Kyoto.
“We need to find ways to help corporate executives actually to visualize what goes on when a computer network is under attack,” he said. “Just explaining in words isn’t enough – the words are too dense, too technical – what we should do is design special games and animations which will bring the severity of current threats vividly alive in the executives’ imaginations.”
He hoped that visualizations would convince corporate chiefs of the need to reverse the current slowdown in commitment to computer security. “We have to have an approach which is easy to understand while getting the serious message across,” he continued.
“Because of the economic crisis there is now less investment in information systems and security management, and fewer staff are being employed in these crucial areas. But at the same time there is a non-stop, almost daily improvement in the quality and sophistication of attacks and the cunning of attackers.”
Dr Yamaguchi illustrated the devastating potential of successful attacks with statistics showing that corporate victims could see sales fall by up to 50 per cent in the six years following online criminal intrusion – and in some cases they might go out of business altogether.
Special podcasts recorded by Dr Yamaguchi at the FIRST conference in Japanese and English can be heard at
Nearly 400 delegates from 52 countries – the highest number ever – are attending this year’s FIRST conference. That includes 93 from Japan and 16 from the People’s Republic of China – the most to date from each country – as well as 66 from the USA, 18 from Germany and 17 from the United Kingdom.
“We’re bowled over by this year’s turnout,” said conference chair Mick Creane. “After all, there were plenty of reasons not to attend – first the economic downturn, and then the swine flu. But the fact that so many people from all over the world have made the effort to come – or been asked to come by their employers – shows how critically important the issue of Internet security is today.
This year’s conference, hosted by JPCERTCC (Japan) has also attracted a record number of 21 sponsors, including Interpol, Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems, Google, BT, and Hitachi and a record level of sponsorship investment.
Founded in 1990, FIRST consists of internet emergency response teams from more than 200 corporations, government bodies, universities and other institutions from the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. It leads the world’s fight-back against cyber-crime, sabotage and terrorism, and promotes co-operation between response teams and law enforcement agencies.

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