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Global Cyber Regulations Needed to Combat Attacks, Study Finds

Global cybersecurity standards are needed to prevent attacks against power grids, communications networks and financial institutions, a study for Internet-security provider McAfee Inc. found.

The U.S. and other countries should create regulations to block criminals and terrorists from conducting economic espionage and damaging public services, according to 67 percent of 250 government and company representatives from 21 countries who were surveyed.

The findings support a U.S. government focus on breaking up global Internet crime rings. An FBI investigation dubbed “Operation Ghost Click” ended Nov. 9 with criminal charges against six Estonians and a Russian for operating a Web fraud infecting more than 4 million computers in at least 100 countries, including the U.S.

“Few countries wish to go up against the United States from an air, land, space or sea perspective,” Tim McKnight, a vice president at Falls Church, Virginia-based Northrop Grumman Corp. who deals with Web security issues, said in an interview. “They’ve all recognized that cyber is a soft underbelly for the United States.”

Eighty-four percent of those surveyed said cyber attacks are a threat to national and international security as well as trade. The study found 43 percent of respondents are most concerned with an attack causing major economic damage.

The U.S. was rated among the best prepared to deal with cyber attacks, behind Israel, Sweden and Finland. Albania, Mexico and Romania were considered least ready of 21 nations.

“It has taken the spectacular increase in cyber attacks for political leaders in the United States, the European Union and part of Asia to sit up and take stock of the costs,” according to the report by the Security & Defence Agenda, a nonprofit research group in Brussels that McAfee commissioned to conduct the study. McAfee, based in Santa Clara, California, benefits from added demand for Internet-security products.

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