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Government weighs need for law against computer crimes

Government weighs need for law against computer crimes

CAMBODIA may draft legislation aimed at preventing computer-based crimes, officials said yesterday, as foreign and domestic experts warned that the Kingdom was not immune to malicious attempts to spread viruses and steal information.

As Cambodia becomes more connected to the world, digital security threats have grown in size and complexity, Cybercrime Law Formulation Working Group (CLFWG) deputy head Nuon Pharat said at a workshop at the Council of Ministers’ building in Phnom Penh.

“Some Cambodians have become victim to these crimes,” he said. “Cambodian government websites and private companies have been attacked in the past few years.”

The Ministry of Commerce website was defaced on May 25, and the Ministry of Tourism’s online presence suffered similar online vandalism in February, CLFWG permanent member Ou Phannarith said.

“We need to prepare mechanisms to prevent these problems,” he added.

During a presentation, he showed the MoC website plastered with a hacked message stating “Panic system take over – one Turk against the world”.

Then the Ministry of the Environment was hacked by the “Iran Black Hats Team”, according to a slide show.

Cyber crime is broadly defined as “crime, plus computers”, Phnom Penh-based information security consultant Bernard Alphonso said during a presentation.

He added that cyber crime involves a computer or a similar device, such as a mobile phone, being targeted or used for illicit enterprises – such as hacking, phishing and spam emailing.

“The bad guys are after information,” he said. “Everyone has valuable information, but many don’t realise it’s valuable.”

Cambodia presently has no legislation specifically related to cyber crimes, said Alexander Seger, head of the Economic Crime Division at the Council of Europe.

But several other ASEAN nations have already enacted specific laws on the issue, he said. He added that the Council of Europe recognises that cyber crime as a global problem, and that tackling it only within Europe’s borders was not sufficient – hence his presence in Cambodia. “If I do something wrong in Germany or France it may affect you, and if you do something wrong it may affect me,” he said at the workshop.

He added that training of judges and police was another crucial step in the fight against cyber crime.

Although there is no specific law to tackle computer-based offenses, such crimes are to some extent recognised by Articles 427 to 430 of the Criminal Code covering information and computer technology.

Nuon Pharat said that the CLFWG was gathering input to determine whether new measures were required to expand on these articles.

Yesterday’s workshop kicked off the process of consulting stakeholders about the moves, National ICT Development Authority Deputy Secretary General Chun Vat said.

He said that it was too early to set a date to see legislation submitted.

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