The G8 group of nations, representing the world's leading industrialised countries and Russia, have agreed to increase cooperation to fight cybercrime at the conclusion of their Paris meeting.

The meeting was called to prepare for a discussion and agreement on cybercrime that will take place among G8 leaders during their annual meeting this year in Japan in July.

Prompted by global concern over the growing threat of cybercrime, including the success of viruses like "ILOVEYOU" wreaking havoc across the Internet, the member governments agreed to rapidly extend an existing network of early warning contact points to clamp down on cases of cybercrime.

Interpol, the international police network, is to supervise this network.

At the concluding session in Paris yesterday (17 May), the participants also confirmed their support of ongoing efforts within the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe to finalise a Convention on Cybercrime.

The Convention will be the first international treaty to deal with the whole gamut of criminal activity in cyberspace.

The treaty requires signatories to pass and enforce laws regarding interception of data, interference with computer systems and fraud and forgery over the Internet.

It also requires them to empower the appropriate national authorities to carry out computer searches and to seize computer data.