Cyber Crime

Over the past decade cybercrime has increased dramatically resulting in a loss of approximately $560 million dollars for consumers and an estimated $1 trillion dollars for the U. S. government. Cybercrime ranges from crimes that effect national security such as cyber espionage to identity theft which affects the average consumer. The government has introduced legislation and created task forces in an effort to combat cybercrime. The first cybercrime offense was committed in 1978 over the ARPAnet, a Department of Defense Network in the form of spam mail (Carajal, 2008).

Since that time cyber crime has evolved into a worldwide problem that costs governments countless amounts of money to combat. There are several definitions used to identify cyber crime. The Council of Europe’s Cybercrime Treaty categorizes cyber crime as offenses committed ranging from criminal activity against data to content and copyright infringement (Marion, 2010). The United Nations Manual on the Prevention and Control of Computer Crime defines cyber crime as fraud, forgery, and unauthorized access (Carajal, 2008).

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) defines cyber crime as any violations of criminal law that involve knowledge of computer technology for their perpetration, investigation, or prosecution. The DOJ divided cybercrime into three categories: 1) Crimes in computer hardware, peripherals, and software are the target of a crime; the criminal is obtaining these objects illegally, 2) Computer is the subject or victim of the crime. 3) Computer is used as an instrument to commit ordinary crimes such as thefts of identity, data, and money.

The top five cyber crimes in 2011 were FBI related scams, identity theft, advance fee fraud, non-auction/non-delivery of merchandise, and overpayment fraud (IC3. gov, 2012). FBI related scams are scams which a criminal poses as the FBI to defraud victims. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, FBI related scams was the #1 cyber crime in 2011 resulting in 39 complaints reported daily with victims losing an estimated $425 each (IC3. gov, 2012). Identity theft which is the unauthorized use of a victim’s personal information to commit fraud or other crimes was the second most reported cyber crime in 2011 with 28,915 complaints filed.

Advance fee fraud occurs when consumers pay for a few or service but receive nothing of value in return. Non-Auction/ Non Delivery of Merchandise accounted for 22,404 complaints filed in 2011 and occurs when purchased items are not received by purchaser. Lastly, 18,511 overpayment fraud complaints were submitted by consumers who received a bad check and were asked to return the money in excess of the initial deposit amount (IC3. gov, 2012). Businesses are also on the target of cyber criminals. Cyber crime costs organizations $5. million per year with 72 successful cyber attacks per week (Ponemon. org, 2012). The most common cyber crimes committed against businesses are malicious code, denial of service, stolen goods and web based attacks. The goal of the criminals is to steal money, intellectual property, leak confidential information or disrupt a government (Ponemon. org, 2012). Cyber attacks have occurred to many well known organizations such as Google, Citibank and Wikileaks. Cyber crime also poses a threat to the national security of all countries.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) cyber terrorism is the ” premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs and data which results in violence against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents. ” Cyber terrorists target military installations, power plants, banks, and telecommunication networks. Cyber terrorists are typically consists of consists of amateur hackers 90 %, word class cyber criminals . 1%, and corporate spies 9. 9% (Ponemon. rg, 2012). Cyber terrorism can come from a multiple sources making it difficult crime to combat against. The federal government has made cyber security a top priority. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Janet Napolitano stated that “cyber terrorism now tops the list of security concerns. ” (Coleman, 2012). The FBI is charged with addressing threats to the nation’s cyber security. The FBI has cyber squads, 1K trained cyber agents, analysts and digital forensic examiners to run complex undercover operations (Coleman, 2012).

In 2011 the FBI arrested six Estonian nationals in what is called the biggest the cybercrime takedown in history “Operation Ghost Click”. This operation infected millions of computers rerouting the internet traffic and generating $14 million in income (FBI. gov, 2011). The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) was established in 2001 is also an important government agency developed to combat cyber crime. IC3 is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.

IC3 was created to develop and refer internet related criminal complaints to federal, state and local regulatory agencies for further investigation. Cyber crime is on the rise and continues to challenge the national security of our nation. The federal government and appointed agencies must act swiftly to implement laws and crackdown on offenders. The everyday computer user must be aware of threats that exists and protect themselves accordingly. Business must also continue instituting security measures that not only maintain the safety of their business but the personal records of their customer.

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