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New age of cyber-crime sweeps the globe

Filed under: Information Risk and Security — Stephanie on April 18, 2012

We have begun the next era of organised crime according to professionals in information security jobs. In the 1920s the power of the Mob reached it height with iconic figures such as Al Capone capitalising on the Prohibition. Following WWII the rationing and shortages saw the rise of the black market and in the seventies and eighties international drug trafficking reached its height. This fourth wave of crime to engulf the world is digital. Rather than a knuckle duster and jimmy it is the PC and mobile device that feature heavily in the cyber criminal’s toolkit.

Computer hacking and identity fraud are commonplace. At the centre of the UK riots in 2011 it was Facebook and Blackberry messaging that ignited the fires of social unrest. However, cybercrime is taking an even greater toll on governments and businesses which suffer the on-going onslaught of industrial espionage and terrorist attacks.

It is difficult to quantify just how many losses have been made as companies affected tend to keep silent but Detica, the IT security division of BAE Systems, estimates that the UK makes annual losses of £27 billion and globally $1 trillion per year.

Detica has commissioned a study at the John Grieve Centre collaborating with a range of law enforcement organisations to develop the typical profile of a hacker. It was found that the traditional view of a teenage geek hacker is a false one. Most are over 35 and have only basic IT skills, meaning that those with little education can soon become an adept cyber-crook using pre-paid phones and off-the-shelf packages.

There is a growing opportunity for specialist firms to offer support to businesses and governments against cyber-attacks. However, many are restricted by budget. There is a rising demand for talented people in information security jobs and this is set to continue.

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