As confimed by Europol, profits from cybercrime are being used to fund and develop other criminal activities and the impact and spread of cybercrime keeps on increasing.
The European law enforcement agency recently published its Serious Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA) report and thus highlighted cybercrime as one of the areas requiring increased shared action among EU member states.
The report said economic crimes and fraud have emerged as significant crime activities. Improvements in technology have been a key factor in the spread of serious and organized crime.
Internet does offer many opportunities for crime, enabling easy access to information, targeting of victims, negotiation and establishment of criminal activities besides laundering of criminal activities.
As the Internet is now a key tool to our everyday life, whether on computer, mobile or tablet, criminals can target a larger pool of victims. The boom of Internet access in regions such as Africa and Asia creates additional opportunities and room for organized crime groups targeting public and private parties in the European Union. “Cybercrime in the form of large-scale data breaches, online frauds and child sexual exploitation poses an ever-increasing threat to the EU, while profit-driven cybercrime is becoming an enabler for other criminal activity,” the report said.
Europol warned Europeans that cybercriminals can access a large pool of potential victims through, social networking, spamming and phishing. Stolen personal data can also been exploited to produce faked documents, thus allowing criminals to develop a range of organized crime both online and offline, the report said. This gives cybercrime organized groups means to generate revenues but also to assume the identities of genuine individuals or companies.
On the other end, identifying and prosecuting such types of crimes is getting more complex: “criminals are able to exploit a variety of different tools and techniques to conceal their identities and obscure their offences,” Europol said.
It is thus estimated that in Europe only 3,600 organised crime groups are being active. The growing use of cloud computing is also benefiting to cybercrime, Europol said. “It will see users and criminals storing less data on their devices, which will present a significant challenge to existing criminal investigation and digital forensic practice.”
Europol forecasts that the Internet will enable a more developed market for illegal activities & products and still plans cyber criminality to develop itself even further.
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