Tuesday, July 21, 2015

CYBERCRIME: The Crime of the Future

Criminals change with the times. They might find an unlocked door to go through, then take whatever is on the other side. If they come back a few weeks later and find the door locked, they will move on to another, easier target. If everyone on the block makes it harder to steal, the criminals will move on to another neighborhood.

We all worry about our stuff being stolen from our homes; and our cars, trucks, or SUV's. Not only does theft result in the loss of our personal possessions it results in a loss of our security. Often victims may not have lost much in monetary value, but they have a strong feeling of violation.

Securing our homes, securing our cars and our workplaces are first on our minds. After all, we live, work and travel in these physical spaces. Our homes, workplaces and vehicles are tangible to our senses. We should work hard to secure the places around us.

But, criminals are flexible. They go where they think the money is. And they go where they think that there is little risk of being caught.

Over the last 30 or more years we have migrated more and more of our lives to computer technology. We started with PC's at our desks at work, then at our homes. The convenience of taking our work with us (and sometimes our games) drove us to use laptops, then tablets. Now, we can be completely mobile with smartphones in our pockets and purses. And criminals are following the new technology.

In our wondrous new world of communications and information at our fingertips, a dark side is developing alongside the new capabilities that we have as individuals, companies, and organizations. The future of crime is online. And the criminals who steal online are just as bad as the burglars and car thieves who break into our homes our cars. If we are savvy about preventing crime in our home, then we need to be equally as savvy online.

I have come to this conclusion after reading two books. "Spam Nation" by Brian Krebs (     documents the Russian and East European gangs who try to invade our PC's and to invade the databases of major companies for identity theft and other crimes. The other book is "Future Crime" by Marc Goodman ( who shows the vulnerabilities that we face on our PC's, laptops, tablets, mobile phones. Mr. Goodman projects that  as more of our lives become connected, for example in our cars, our appliances and our security systems, we will open ourselves to seemingly unlimited opportunities for criminal mischief.

One problem with this new age of crime is that the cyber criminals can be anywhere. And they often are far away from your local jurisdiction. With a burglary or a car prowl, you can at least call 911 and have some expectation of an investigation. But who do you call if someone has scammed you out of your hard earned money, or stolen your ID. Often these criminals are on the other side of the world, away from even the FBI or other national law enforcement agencies.

The new reality of cybercrime adds complications and insecurity to our lives. Now we have to think about locking our doors at home and blocking access to our computers and a myriad of new devices that we will rely on in the future.

With the new reality of cybercrime comes new nomenclature; spam, scams, ID theft, malware, spoofing, middle man attack, phishing. New defenses include firewalls, anti-virus software, two factor authentication. Cybercrime and the defenses against it are dynamic subjects that will be developing over the near future.

Police always preach awareness of your surroundings. Just as we should be aware of our surroundings at home or at work, now we need to be aware of potential online crimes. Educate yourself about the online security measures that you can take with your PC and mobile devices. Implement those measures. And keep up to date to new threats and new prevention measures as they develop. It may seem like the best strategy might be to go off line. But we have past the point of no return. There is enough of our information that is already on computers that the best thing we can do is to be engaged and do what we can as individuals to protect ourselves.

For a summary of some things that you can do to protect yourself take a look at this link:

Ask Leo:



No comments:

Post a Comment