Four Corners Investigates Online Crime

fastlaneThe ABC's long-running investigative program Four Corners turns its attention to Internet crime this evening, with an episode investigating the scope of online crime in Australia and the lack of security in many wireless networks.

Here's the slightly breathless description of the report, 'Fear In The Fast Lane', from the Four Corners team:

In a story that will make you review the use of your home computer, reporter Andrew Fowler tells how foreign online crooks took down a multi-million dollar Australian business. He explains how you can have your identity stolen, your phone disconnected and your bank accounts emptied in just hours. Perhaps most alarmingly, Four Corners reveals first-hand how wireless connections are an invitation to thieves.

Much of this territory is probably pretty familiar stuff for Lifehacker readers, the notion that wireless security is remarkably easy to crack being one we've explored a number of times. However, it's always good to get an Australian perspective on this kind of issue. The show is on ABC1 at 0830pm tonight, and will be repeated at 1135pm on Tuesday August 18. It should also show up on iView after broadcast and (if past episodes are any guide) will also be available as a video and transcript on the Four Corners site.

Ensure you've got your own security needs covered by checking out our Hive Fives on the best anti-virus software, the best malware removal tools and the best Windows firewalls, as well as our guide to choosing and remembering passwords.

Four Corners


    Not only is it good to get the Australian perspective, it's good to remind people Chicken Little style that wireless security is very important (if you own a wireless network of course), that people should take very good care about protecting their computer assets as much as they protect their home and financial assets.

    It was simplistic and rather observational rather than probing or offering either any solutions (oh, except the "secure your wireless network"). Whilst it talked about bots and zombies it actually gave no hint about detection or protection or recovery.

    It was also hard to grasp the quality of the police work.

    Their inability to use the Criminal bulletin board (they were "shocked" by the extent of criminality on offer - that alone worried me a bit) that they'd accessed and their big bust which appeared to result in nothing more than "uncertainty" that the hacker would be charged gave me further cause for concern.

    The Feds outrage at the magistrates sentencing in a successful prosecution also left me non-plussed as it is clearly the responsibility - no duty - of the prosecutor to ensure that the court is provided with the information which will leave the court properly informed and therefore able to sentence appropriately.

    There seemed to be a big attack coming on Telstra but 4Corners pulled that punch at the last moment.

    All-in-all a very unsatisfying report.

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