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SYDNEY, Australia – Australian credit unions consider themselves among the lucky few who haven’t experienced a real technological attack as yet. But they’re not taking any chances and want to lock the barn door before the horses are stolen, at least as far as high tech crime goes. That’s why the Credit Union Services Corporation Australia, Ltd. (CUSCAL) is offering both moral and financial support to the Australian High Tech Crime Centre (AHTCC) in developing a National Response Plan. A few unrelated events have been reported to CUSCAL, according to Leanne Vale, CUSCAL’s Fraud Prevention Manager. These were “primarily related to compromise of credit union member accounts in Internet cafes overseas. These are not safe to use as banking facilities as many have key logger viruses attached to them,” she says. However Vale gave credit to the AHTCC and said, “Due to our close ties and intense liaison with Australian AHTCC no losses were sustained.” “To date no Australian credit union has had a Web site ghosted or been the victim of a large scale spam attack using its company profile. However we are not waiting for such events to occur. We have strategically positioned our credit unions to deal effectively and immediately with any such threat,” Vale added. The National Plan will not limit itself to cyber crime but plans links to terrorism funding, identity theft, money launderings, and denial of service activities. Child pornography and other crimes also fall within the sphere of AHTCC, but are of a lesser concern to credit unions. The concept of a national centre to coordinate the efforts of Australian law enforcement in combating serious crime involving complex technology was a priority identified by the Australian Police Commissioners Conference in its Electronic Crime Strategy, March 2001 and endorsed by the Australian Police Ministers Council in November 2002. Malcolm Hyde, Commissioner of the South Australian Police, is the chair of AHTCC which is governed by a board from the Australian Police Commission. The AHTCC is governed by its own Board of Management consisting of all Australian Police Commissioners, with the Commissioner of New Zealand Police participating in board meetings as an observer. The AHTCC’s role is to create a national coordinated approach to fighting high tech crimes. It has the ability to cross jurisdictions and deal with local, national and international groups, increasing its efficiency. They also provide intelligence and liaise with government agencies, business and industry groups, including CUSCAL. “Credit unions recognize the value in responding cooperatively, as a sector, to the challenges of cyber crime,” said Adrian Lovney, General Manager, Credit Union Services Corporation Industry Association which is part of CUSCAL. “The AHTCC is a positive initiative that will enhance efforts to combat cybercrime in the finance sector.” -

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