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By Peter S. Vogel
On the heels of the recent report that cybercrime is a $575 billion growth industry, Infoworld pointed out “that amount of crime has persisted for a long time, well before the Internet.” The article included these 5 reasons why cybercrime is worse than ever:
1. Internet criminals almost never get caught. The world is full of malicious individuals who have no problem skirting rules and laws, as well as taking property that belongs to other people. Bad people exist — and the Internet is a very low-risk neighborood in which they can run amok.
2. Indefinite legal jurisdiction. Most Internet crime takes place across international borders. Law enforcement agencies are always limited to jurisdictional boundaries. For instance, a city police officer in Billings, Mont., can’t easily arrest someone in Miami, Fla. We have federal law enforcement agencies, which reach across city and state boundaries, but they can’t easily traverse international boundaries.
3. Lack of legal evidence. Another huge impediment to successful convictions is the lack of official, legal evidence. Most courts accept “the best representation” of evidence recorded during the commission of a crime. But most computer systems — and many networks in totality — don’t collect any evidence at all, much less evidence that might stand a chance of holding up in court. I’m still surprised by the number of computers I investigate that don’t, at a minimum, have event logging turned on.
4. Lack of resources. Few victims or victim advocacy groups have the resources, technology, or funding to pursue Internet criminals. I know many people who have lost tens of thousands of dollars to fraudulent transactions, including car sales, stock trades, bank transfers, and so on. Unfortunately, the amount lost usually pales compared to the cost of the resources that would be needed to recover the funds.
5. Cybercrime isn’t hurting the economy enough (yet). Lastly, the amount of Internet crime isn’t hurting economies enough to raise a global red alert. Sure, Internet crime probably results in the loss of hundreds of millions — or perhaps several billion — dollars each year, but that amount of crime has persisted for a long time, well before the Internet.
Nevertheless in 2013 a number of cybercriminals were given long jail sentences as I wrote in my January 2014 eCommerce Times column “Internet Crimes Led to Long Jail Sentences in 2013.”
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