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Think of a bank or mortgage company who is hacked, and the amount of personal data that can be downloaded and used elsewhere ("Cyber Investigations"). In addition, many hackers come into governmental or business computers and crash those servers, place viruses, bots, Trojans, email bombs, etc. -- or mine the data or manipulate the data -- where for competitive advantage or simply "as a prank," this is all part of this genre of serious Cybercrime (Wall, 2007).
Because of this plethora of cybercrime, Federal, State, and Local agencies continue to try to curtail the efforts of these criminals. Private corporations continually change their software and security protocol, but it is taking a great deal more complex codes to keep Cybercriminals out (Moreau, 2006). Most States, in fact, have their own Cybercrime units, most especially (at the State and Local level) to act in a more tactical manner. Because of the nature of Cybercrime in generally, though, it is typically the FBI, CIA and other Federal agencies that focus on this, and interface with Interpol and other national agencies in other countries ("Articles on Cybercrime"). Cyber terrorists, for example, can hit banks, credit card companies, clearing houses, or major corporations and disrupt the economy of an entire nation with the touch of a button. In fact, much like the NSA example, the problem is so vastly complex that it is almost impossible for any foreign policy expert to comprehend. Thus, for many, the more basic and simple scenario -- the detonation of a Weapon of Mass Destruction in a public venue, remains the top priority. However, sad though it may be, the pragmatic terrorist threat is actually embedded within this complex and seemingly endless network of global sympathizers, high-level financiers, and state sponsored covert foreign policy (Wirtz, 2006).
What can be done about Cybercrime? As much as the government or other law enforcement agencies try, they cannot seem to keep up with the trend. If one thinks about it, all a Cybercriminal needs is an internet connection and a computer, anywhere in the world -- then it is up to their own intellect and motivation (Cain, 2003). The personal user can try to prevent crime as much as possible by changing passwords, but the individual likewise cannot change their social security or birth date at whim ("Cybercrime Articles"). They can be certain they never give out information without the company or agency having appropriate security software installed, but even then, data mining, viruses, and traps exist all the time -- even if not for gain, making life complicated and computer use irritating for some (Hallam, 2008).
The Internet has, unarguably, changed the way that the world communicates, purchases, researches, and interacts. Along with this change, though, comes issues that focus on security for both the private and corporate individual. Why is this security so necessary, one might ask -- how can others have access to internal electronic data and measures, and what is the clear issue regarding these issues? The simple answer is termed "cyber theft," and is the reason it is necessary to expand the security for information technology. Cyber theft is a major criminal issue surrounding the use of the Internet. Cyber theft is not just identity theft; it entails so much more. General targets of Cyber theft or Cybercrime are small networks, personal computers, and, at times, businesses.
Recently, results from the 2011 Global Information Security Workforce Study found that the nature of information security has become so critical in most organizations that the shift is moving to a greater alignment between the public and private sectors. Governments, for instance, are facing similar issues as private companies, and the need for prioritization of security knows no national or international boundaries. In fact, the study showed that the magnitude of the problem is so acute that there remains a critical need for more skilled professionals who can" successfully handle the evolving challenges associated with safeguarding the nation's data and [electronic] infrastructure" (U.S. Government and Industry, 2011). Indeed, while the detection and prosecution of Cybercrime remains difficult, since over 50% of the activity is generated offshore, the industries involved continue to change computer chips, memory and firewall changes, and new software designed to block unauthorized access (ICT, 2005). It is clear, however, based on all the evidence and commentary, that Cybercrime remains quite serious, on the rise, and a critical problem for the foreseeable future, one that may, however, cause society to choose between personal privacy and protection from outside internet crime (Brin, 1999, "Take Charge").
We might then wonder what the future of cybercrime might be. In 2007, a group of the top leaders in cyber security met and identified their view of the most likely future scenarios: 1) Laptop encryption will become mandatory in many government and other key organizations; 2) Targeted cyber-attacks, particularly against government agencies, will increase dramatically, as will their economic impact; 3) Cell and Smart phone worms will affect at least 100,000 phones annually, jumping from phone to phone. 4) Attack techniques will become more sophisticated and severe -- spyware will continue to become a huge issue, and the majority of bots will be bundled together with rootkits that will change the operating system to hide the virus. The war between the hackers and defenders will continue, with the only way of getting ahead is to make the attacker's job harder and increasing penalties for those who are caught (Paller, 2011).
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In this scenario, "if a bad guy wants to take over an account, he'll have someone else speak in a different language in a different location, and that's all they do. Their expertise is calling financial institutions for social engineering" (Piazza 2006). According to Piazza (2006), cybercrime consists of any crime a person commits by using a computer or computer technology. He classifies various types of cybercrime into four
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