Scene of the Cybercrime: Inside Today's Cybercrime WorldDate: August 10, 2008
The ways in which criminals commit crimes is also changing. Universal digital accessibility opens up new opportunities for the unscrupulous. Millions of dollars are lost by both businesses and consumers to computer-savvy criminals. Worse, computers and networks can be used to harass victims or set them up for violent attacks—even to coordinate and carry out terrorist activities that threaten us all. Unfortunately, in many cases law enforcement agencies have lagged behind these criminals, lacking the technology and the trained personnel to address this new and growing threat, which has been aptly termed cybercrime.
Even though interest and awareness of the cybercrime phenomenon has grown in recent years, many Information Technology (IT) professionals and law enforcement officers have lacked the tools and expertise needed to tackle the problem. To make matters worse, old laws didn’t quite fit the crimes being committed, new laws hadn’t quite caught up to the reality of what was happening, and there were few court precedents to look to for guidance. Furthermore, debates over privacy issues hampered the ability of enforcement agents to gather the evidence needed to prosecute these new cases. Finally, there was a certain amount of antipathy—or at the least, distrust—between the two most important players in any effective fight against cybercrime: law enforcement agents and computer professionals. Yet close cooperation between the two is crucial if we are to control the cybercrime problem and make the Internet a safe “place” for its users.
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