USM develops a better tool to fight hackers
New Straits Times (5 march 2012)

Computer system able to detect and track online intrusion

UNIVERSITI Sains Malaysia has come up with a computer system that can detect and track online hackers.

Called the Forensic Analysis and Discovery System (FADS), it will help in cyber crime investigations.

USM senior computer science lecturer Dr Aman Jantan said FADS is a digital crime monitoring system, designed to help computer forensic agents to extract evidence from a network's system for analysis.

"The problem with digital evidence is that it can disappear fast," he said.

"For example, if a person hacks into a bank account and a report is lodged, from where can the authorities obtain proof?.

"This is among the problems that we are trying to solve."

Aman said unlike other network analysers like "Wireshark" and "Snort" that only detect cyber attacks, FADS could analyse networks, detect intrusions as well as serving as a forensic tool.

FADS could examine and identify evidence from the suspicious network activity in an organisation's network system or IT infrastructure.

It could also help the military collect and collate data on hackers and even spies in terms of national security.

"The data for the processes are extracted from the network packets of the organisation as well as the system logs.

"The data will be further analysed and classified using special engines developed to detect various types of cyber attacks on the system."

FADS has been well-received by government agencies, including the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

It also won a silver medal in the Malaysian Technology Expo by the Malaysian Research Scientist Association and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry last February.

A report from CyberSecurity Malaysia revealed an 88 per cent spike in cyber crime with over 15,218 cases reported last year.

CyberSecurity Malaysia's chief executive officer Lt Col (R) Husin Jazri said over RM116 million in damages had been incurred in the last two years due to online crime.

"Internet users should never let their guard down when surfing online. Although sharing is caring, over-sharing private information is carelessness," he said.

Husin added that various programmes were available to assist Malaysians fight the growing cyber crime threat.

The Cyber 999 Help Centre launched in 1997 by the Malaysian Computer Emergency Response Team (MyCERT) provides a channel for people to report cyber incidents.

"People can make reports and will be assisted by a team of experts 24 hours a day," he said.

Husin said CyberSecurity Malaysia was open to collaborative efforts with the private sector in its outreach programme CyberSAFE.

He said the current CyberSAFE in school programmes had been well received by the Education Ministry in educating school children on Internet safety measures.

"We will also continue focusing on talent incubation programmes to promote partnerships with local universities to develop cyber security related courses."

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