How to Dismantle a Botnet: the Legal Behind the Scenes

Security experts have accomplished significant knowledge on how the most impenetrable botnets operate. While botnet intelligence gathering and disruptive tools are fast evolving, the legal mechanisms that enable investigation and prosecution of cyber crime are not progressing at the same pace. This has frustrated security experts, who show lack of confidence on the work done by law enforcement. There are many reasons why law enforcement is lagging behind in the fight against cyber crime. Despite insufficient qualified staff, other structural issues are pronounceable. Problems often unknown to experts fighting cyber crime. Part of these obstacles is related to insufficient legal provisions that would enable the work of law enforcement, as many have figured out. Others are connected to the need to rethink fundamental legal concepts such as jurisdiction and authorship. But then again rethinking established legal concepts in a cyber crime context is a long process that is showing slow signs of progress.

In spite of everything, the past year has struck our attention with international efforts led by industry and law enforcement. A closer look into the ZeroAccess (Dec/2013) and Gameover Zeus & Cryptolocker (Jun/2014) disruptions reveals that law enforcement has found creative ways to investigate and go after botmasters, despite the structural barriers above mentioned.

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Karine E Silva

Karine e Silva

Legal researcher at B-CCENTRE
Karine E Silva

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