A report recently published by Europol puts cyber-crime as one of the main forms of future organised crime. The report discussed the varies prospects that are open to cyber-criminals and how the change in how such criminals operate presents a new challenge to law enfocement. We have written before about how cyber-crime is underreported and law enforcement seems ill equipped to deal with the day to challenges of cyber-crime.
The increasing exploitation of Big Data and personal data will enable criminal groups to carry out complex and sophisticated identity frauds on previously unprecedented levels.
The report is ambitious and discusses numerous changes within Europe and the affects it will have on organised crime from the threat of drones to the change nature of crime in countries with ageing populations.Cyber-crime takes a central place in the report, with the internet enabling criminals to organise in looser associations, almost in a freelance form and giving them greater reach. Data itself will become a lucrative commodity for organised crime groups that will be gathered "by hacking and social engineering, as well as the physical infiltration of companies in the transportation and logistics sector. This data will include sensitive business information, personal data and intellectual property crucial to the infiltrated businesses".
Already masses of data can be both from illicit sites such as credit card numbers, social securtiy numbers and other information that can be used to target spam, viruses and other malicous activities.
Thousands of peoples data is already for sale online
Cyber-criminals can gain massive amounts of information about potential victims. The personal data can be gained from social networks, intercepted during transfer and phishing. The Europol report expects the trade in personal information to grow as more personal and biographical data is stored online. Personal and biometric data will be of use to criminals in various crime areas such as credit card fraud, hacking and theft. A similar report from the UK anticipated a growth in targeted attacks by cybercriminals including more ransomware, distributed denial of service and malware attacks.
These changes to organised crime are a major challenge to law enforcement. Law enforcement also lacks the specialisits skills required to combat such sophisticated organised crime. Individuals changing their attitude and behaviour online will play an improtant role in combatting these new forms of organised crime. There are also numerous softwarer solutions available that enhance user security.
ZenMate is a simple browser add on that encrypts your browser traffic, hides your IP address and helps you avoid geo-restrictions. ZenMate is free and availabe across a range of operating systems and browsers.