The Challenges of Cybercrime

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The Challenges of Cybercrime


Cybercrime has kept pace with technology advancement but, security practitioners and law enforcement agencies are yet to keep catch up with the criminals. The more technology advances and evolves, the more businesses and individuals adopt these technologies, and the more the attack surfaces of these technologies also increase. Cybercrime issues are expected to continue the next decade due to factors such as user ignorance, abundance of data, and easy accessibility to the internet. The paper briefly discusses some key factors which have led to the ongoing cybercrime activities. The factors contributing to evolution of cybercrime technology, availability, underground market, and multiple jurisdictions involved in cybercrime. The paper proposes solutions to the points discussed.


Technology Factor

The cybercrime industry is growing because of availability of technology resources, corporate data, and the speed of internet, training, and lack of legal framework by nations to prosecute cybercriminal. Another factor which has led to the numerous cybercrime rate is the speed of internet, hacking and the availability of computer hacking and anti-forensics tools. Management non-commitment to advanced security investment also create an environment for computer criminals to take advantage of system and network vulnerabilities and get involved in a various type of cybercrimes.  Cybercrime continues to be one of the major issue everyone is facing.


Availability of Data

Technology such as mobile devices and high-speed internet have made the creation and retention of data an easy task. These technologies have enabled everyone, including businesses, organizations, and individuals to capture and store data. Technology has enabled companies to keep data in large amount. Since the main commodity of cyber underground market personal data and customers’ information, stored by businesses, will continue to become the target commodity. The criminals either access the database directly or use malware to steal the data. To reduce cost of managing and retaining data, businesses move their data to their third-party contractors. This business decision lead to data leakage especially when the organization does not have third party oversight to ensure that the third-party provider is handling and managing the data in secured manner.

To mitigate the risks of data theft, employees must be thought proper handling of data. Management must invest in the acquisition of security tools such as antimalware suits, anti-virus suits, and intrusion detection systems.  Security practitioners need to regularly perform risk assessment and testing and audit to ascertain whether applications where data is kept is secure or not.  Security practitioners must disseminate their testing results to information technology decision makers in a timely manner.  Regular vulnerability scanning, and timely patching is one of the best means of mitigating attacks of systems that store corporate sensitive data.

Cybercriminals become more proactive in their criminal operations so, organizations and governments must sponsor research in intelligence network to detect the activities of the adversary. Moreover, cybercrime must be fought collectively by all stakeholders. Government, researchers, academia, and businesses (eg. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must collaborate to pull resources to develop tools and methodology that will monitor, detect, and stop network and system intrusions.


Cybercrime Underground Market

Phishing and pharming activities have promoted cybercrime market otherwise known as underground market. In cybercrime market, illegal goods and services are traded. With the help of social engineering techniques, criminals can trick their victims to harvest personal data for this kind of trading. While some private companies and government organizations have made basic security awareness mandatory, most people do not see the need for every member of an organization to attend basic awareness training. Most managers believe awareness trainings are for IT employees who management their systems. Organizations and individuals must come together to pull resources to destroy activities of criminals in an underground market. 

Organizations and individuals must promote research about the psychology and behavior of modern day cybercriminal. Cyber intelligence practitioners must actively develop programs and tools that will help to thwart the activities of digital underground economy.


Multiple Jurisdictions

Internet and computer network span across multiple continents. Criminals can now sit anywhere on the internet yet, can launch an attack. Cybercrime that affect multiple jurisdictions have become common in recent times. With the help of internet, an act of cybercrime in one geographic location can span across multiple jurisdictions.

The challenge that multiple jurisdictions bring can be overcome by joint efforts among nation, states, and regions. Nations, including Ghana, are now making efforts to fix this jurisdictional challenge, but the pace has been very slow. Heads of nations, states and regions must have a centralized coordination of programs against cybercrime activities. The programs must be held at international level and regional level to help stakeholders streamline the efforts. International communities must make the effort to implement global Cyber Laws. There is the growing need for the establishment of cyberspace taskforces and global Cyber Cop to stop their activities.  International crime court needs to be established to coordinate and handle daily and simple computer related crimes. The International Cyber Crime Court system must be set up to ensure proper prosecution of crimes that occur in cyberspace. Finally, the global crime and legal system must seek that there is a complete harmony of cybercrime legal systems internally


Author: Samuel Owusu – Cybersecurity Specialist (Advanced Evidence Discovery Ltd and Institute of Cybersecurity, Ghana). Member, Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana.