Wednesday, 26 November 2014 10:21

ACORN planted to wipe out Cybercrime in real time Featured

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Australia’s Federal Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, has keenly launched the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network or ACORN, where cybercrime victims can report criminals, hacks attacks, online scams and more net nastiness in real time.

It almost sounds like a tame version of S.H.I.E.L.D. without the excitement or the super powers, but it’s still got the same general goal of fighting crime.

In this case it’s cybercrime, with ACORN or the ‘Australian CyberCrime Online Reporting Network’ claimed to be a ‘revolutionary new online system’.

Aside from letting people securely make real-time reports, which ACORN claims people haven’t known where to make such reports before, the site also aims to provide info to Aussies so they don’t fall victims to cybercrime ploys, sites or other scams.

Justice Minister Michael Keegan noted that: ‘The ACORN will also enable police to access a national picture of the cybercrime affecting Australians and Australian businesses, enabling them to develop improved tactical and strategic responses to key cybercrime threats’, which will assist police and which will make Australia a ‘harder target for cyber criminals’.

ACORN’s own site notes that ’as Australia’s reliance on technology grows, the cost and incidence of cybercrime is expected to increase’, and that ACORN is ‘a national policing initiative of the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments.’

It is ‘a key initiative under the National Plan to Combat Cybercrime, which sets out how Australian agencies are working together to make Australia a harder target for cybercriminals’ and ‘provides information on how to recognise and avoid common forms of cybercrime (such as hacking, online scams, online fraud, identity theft and attacks on computer systems) as well as advice for those who have fallen victim.’

As noted it ‘also makes reporting cybercrime easier and more convenient for all Australians’.

ACORN has been delivered in collaboration with all Australian police agencies, the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Attorney-General’s Department, the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Australian Communications and Media Authority and CrimTrac.

Once you submit a report to ACORN, we’re told that ‘you will receive a confirmation email with a unique ACORN reference number if you provide your email address’, but that ‘not all reports to the ACORN will be referred or investigated.’

Even so, the ACORN site says that ‘your report will be treated seriously and will help our law enforcement and government agencies to develop a clearer picture of cybercrime trends which affect Australians.’

All IP addresses of reports received are also logged to discourage and act upon malicious reporting, which would be a little cybercrime all its own.

More details at the ACORN site

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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