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What is Cybercrime?



Cybercrime is a term for any illegal activity that uses a computer as its primary means of commission. The U.S. Department of Justice expands the definition of cybercrime to include any illegal activity that uses a computer for the storage of evidence. The growing list of cybercrimes includes crimes that have been made possible by computers, such as network intrusions and the dissemination of computer viruses, as well as computer-based variations of existing crimes, such as identity theft, stalking, bullying and terrorism.

In the era of continuous compromises, business executives are faced with the growing threat of malicious actors targeting and successfully penetrating their defenses at an alarming rate. Cyber-attacks are making the news daily, especially when they target major retailers, banks, and government agencies. Increasingly, businesses are relying on the connectivity (always online) and productivity (customization/remote access) of their information systems.

Businesses are challenged with trying to deliver services to an expanding consumer base while trying to balance security with the convenience of usability. Connectivity, productivity and convenience are critical in the 21st century, but if not implemented properly, they can have devastating effects to security. Striking a balance between security and usability is not easy and is a constantly evolving process.

  1. Cyber crime requires a coordinated effort from multiple law enforcement agencies
  2. Many traditional crimes now have a cyber component.
  3. No single agency will ever have the resources to combat cyber crime alone
  4. Cyber crime is borderless
  5. There are no reliable number on how big the cyber crime problem is
  6. Cyber crimes continue to rise each year as criminals find new ways to exploit technologies
  7. Many traditional crimes have a cyber component
  8. Many cyber crimes go unreported
  9. Examples: Emails scams, online auction fraud, cyber attacks,
  10. No single organization is responsible for collecting data on cyber crimes
With so much of our everyday communication and commercial activity now taking place via the Internet, the threat from cybercrime is increasing, targeting citizens, businesses and governments at a rapidly growing rate. The scale of cybercriminal activity represents a considerable challenge to law enforcement agencies and the total cost of cybercrime to society is significant.
Former NSA director, General Keith Alexander
The loss of industrial information and intellectual property through cyber espionage constitutes the "Greatest Transfer of Wealth in History"


How Does it Happen?

The Internet makes it easier to accomplish many things - banking, research, travel, and shopping are all at our virtual fingertips. And just as the Internet makes it easier for legitmate pursuits, it also makes it easier for scammers, con artists, and other online miscreants to carry out their virtual crimes - impacting our real life finances, security, and peace of mind. America’s cyberspace links the United States to the rest of the world. A network of networks spans the planet, allowing malicious actors on one continent to act on systems thousands of miles away. Cyber attacks cross borders at light speed, and discerning the source of malicious activity is difficult. America must be capable of safeguarding and defending its critical systems and networks. Enabling our ability to do so requires a system of international cooperation to facilitate information sharing, reduce vulnerabilities, and deter malicious actors.

The Globalization of Cybercrime

As computer technology has advanced, both government and private entities have become increasingly dependent on computerized information systems to carry out operations and to process, maintain, and report essential information. Public and private organizations rely on computer systems to transmit sensitive and proprietary information, develop and maintain intellectual capital, conduct operations, process business transactions, transfer funds, and deliver services. In addition, the Internet has grown increasingly important to American business and consumers, serving as a medium for hundreds of billions of dollars of commerce each year, as well as developing into an extended information and communications infrastructure supporting vital services such as power distribution, health care, law enforcement, and national defense. Many CIOs are unaware of how vulnerable their networks are and how aggressively they are being targeted.  The purpose of this web page is to provide you with information about cybercrime and how it happens.  This web page also provides information about the electronic investigative and prosecutorial process for computer crimes and explains some of the guidelines, policies, and resources law enforcement utilizes when it investigating these types of crimes.

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