Alarming headlines about cyber hacking are often associated with the world of cyber crime. Figures suggesting billions– if not trillions of dollars– a year are swept up by cyber criminals in reporting by this or that government department or think tank. For business leaders, members of government and individuals, these numbers are very scary. Yet, some seem blissfully unaware of the scale of the problem they face; possibly they’re simply too frightened to confront what seems to be a problem that is intractable and beyond what they can deal with on a day-to-day basis.
One of the difficulties with assembling any sort of detailed picture of the scale of this criminal behavior is trying to assemble accurate data. In attempting to do this, even defining cyber crime is difficult. It covers a wide range of criminal behaviour, including extortion, money laundering, identity and intellectual property theft and activities that take place in the murky world known as the “dark market,” which includes trading credit card details.
In the United States the FBI is at the forefront of the government’s activities to try and raise awareness of cyber crime and to prosecute those who were involved. Given the global ubiquity of the internet, this often involves the formation of ad hoc task forces that operate across many nations looking to simultaneously arrest perpetrators in multiple locations.