Wednesday, July 06, 2005

McAfee Study on Organized Crime and the Internet

McAfee just released a study on the impact organized crime is having on internet fraud. The report states that cybercriminals now use the internet for extortion, fraud, money laundering and theft. The report states that only 5 percent of the cybercriminals ever get caught. The very nature of the internet (borderless reaches) makes detection, investigation and prosecution difficult.

Besides information and identity theft, companies or government platforms could be sabotaged and some of the criminals are even extorting money for not shutting systems down.

Although these crimes require a level of technical knowledge, once the technical part is done, the crimes can be easily maintained through social engineering. Social engineering takes little technical knowledge and entails tricking people to install hidden programs on their computers and or give out personal information. A single criminal with little technical knowledge has the ability to launch a million e-mails and the law of statistics is that they will find hundreds of computers that aren't properly protected from their misdeeds.

This report indicates that the goal of many of the cybercriminals is to infect thousands of computers and turn them into a network of devices that attack in unison, which is known as a bot-net. Quite simply a bot-net is a collection of computers, already compromised by worms, or viruses. Some of them even have their own server and are being rented out to cybercriminals for as little as $200.00 to $300.00 an hour. Bot-nets are allegedly becoming the tool of choice in all sorts of internet (cyber) scams.

Also covered, is increased involvement by organized crime and that more of the known groups are becoming involved.

One FBI report estimated the cost of cybercrime at 400 billion a year. If not dealt with this could have a severe impact on the way we live. Cybercrimes are borderless and can impact anywhere in the world.

The sources of information in putting this report together are international. Included are some of the most well known law enforcement and security experts in the world. We all need to be aware of this criminal activity and support their efforts to combat this growing menace.

The full report can be viewed by clicking on the title.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is amazing. Someone needs to take notice and take action now.