Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Cybercrime dominated by organised gangs, academic study finds

World in "Fourth era" of organised crime

Article comments

The criminal possibilities of the online world have primed a “fourth era” of organised crime that is having a major effect on all forms of illegal activity around the globe, an academic study from John Grieve Centre for Policing and Security at London Metropolitan University has said.

By the reckoning of Organised Crime in the Digital Age 80 percent of crime committed online is now connected to organised gangs, mostly staffed by young-to-middle aged technical types working in connected groups of up to a dozen people.

A quarter of these gangs are recent enough to have started in the last six months with many also dabbling in traditional crimes including human trafficking, prostitution, drugs and theft.

The earliest online crimes included pump-and-dump stock scams in the late 1990s, but the real jump came with the development of the mainstream Internet around the turn of the century. Organised crime quickly picked up on the potential for information theft and fraud, which was eventually industrialised with the arrival of botnets around 2006.

“Organised criminal activity has now moved from being an emerging aspect of cybercrime to become a central feature of the digital crime landscape,” said Kenny McKenzie, head of law enforcement for BAE Systems Detica, which commissioned the study. “Our report shows that more and more criminal activities now rely upon the online world.”

Digital crime was only the latest era of organised activity, having succeeded the globalised drugs trade that started in the 1970s, the growth of the black market after World War 2, and the US prohibition era gambling and alcohol racketeering of the 1920s, the study said.

Unexpectedly, the study doesn’t offer much about the geographical origins of online cybercrime possibly because such judgements can be misleading.

A disproportionate amount of malicious software development happens in countries such as Russia and its former Soviet Bloc satellites and China but increasingly the criminals wielding these tools come from almost anywhere.

Despite the documented incursions of East European gangs into Western Europe, a country’s online criminal culture will often reflect its offline criminality.

“To tackle the problem of digital crime and intervene successfully, we need to move away from traditional models and embrace this new information about how organised criminals operate in a digital context,” said Professor John Grieve of the John Grieve Centre for Policing and Community Safety.

“The research found evidence of many cases where there has been real success in closing down digital criminal operations.  Growth in the digital economy will inevitably cause an increase in organised digital crime, however this need not be seen as an insurmountable problem,” said Grieve.  

The academics reached their conclusions after analysing “7,000 documentary sources including public, private and ‘grey documentation,” resolving the demographic and organisational patterns they found. Where these information came from was not specified.



Share:

More from Techworld

More relevant IT news

Comments

Eric said: Strong sales performance and a key acquisition put Intel in the driving seat according to a study from IHS

Mr1652 said: There will always be maggots feeding on finances of honest people posting as business offering sound advice on their products or financial services online Its destructive capitalism at its best that kills progress in finding solutions from job creation to more just and balance universal health care coverage



Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *