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Issues Monitor: Cyber Crime - A Growing Challenge for Governments

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2011
20 pages
This booklet discusses the nature, prevalence, and threat of cyber crime, as well as the features and effectiveness of countermeasures.
Cyber crime, which is generally any crime that involves the use of a computer network, includes financial scams, computer hacking, downloading pornographic images from the Internet, virus attacks, e-mail stalking, and creating Web sites that promote racial hatred. Over the past few years, global cyber crime has changed significantly, with criminals using more sophisticated technology and greater knowledge of cyber security. Cyber criminals are now moving beyond computers in attacks on mobile handheld devices. In 2010, the number of malicious software programs specifically targeting mobile devices increased 46 percent. As corporations and government offices are increasingly becoming the target of cyber attacks, the costs to maintain, protect, and restore cyber infrastructure have increased rapidly. A table provides details on major cyber attacks that inflicted monetary damages. In describing what governments are doing to counter cyber crime, this booklet focuses on measures undertaken by the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Iran, India, the European Union, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The challenges faced by governments in fighting cyber crime are tracking the origin of crime, the growth of the underground cyber-crime economy, the shortage of skilled cyber-crime security experts, and the widespread use of pirated software. Apart from bilateral and multilateral initiatives between governments, much can be achieved by cooperating with the private companies that own and control the majority of the cyberspace network. 2 tables and a listing of information sources