Although politicians some times like to talk tough about cracking down on cyber-crime, there's little question that for the most part, law enforcement has been ineffective at doing much about it. There are all kinds impediments facing law enforcement bodies, such as jurisdictional issues and matters of scale (investigating and prosecuting an individual is an expensive, arduous task, while it's only getting cheaper and easier to launch attacks). The alternative, then, to traditional law enforcement is cyber-vigilantism. That was the idea behind Blue Security, a company whose strategy, some argued, amounted to launching denial-of-service attacks against spammers. Of course, Blue Security ultimately lost the battle, when, last summer, it came under a denial-of-service attack of its own launched by vengeful spammers. Increasingly, law enforcement is looking at a blended approach that combines legal methods alongside cyber-vigilantism. In London, the police have been joining up with such groups, although it's taking a cautious approach. The police, of course, want to be sure it's only allying with groups operating completely within the letter of the law, and its wary that wars between attackers and vigilantes could result in collateral damage to the networks that play the role of battleground. Still, it seems likely that such cooperation will continue. The traditional methods of the police force clearly seem inadequate, while the vigilantes should be able to benefit from a cloak of legitimacy that the police force can provide. The key will be in developing tools and practices to make the partnerships useful.
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