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Organized Crime and Cybercrime: Synergies, Trends, and Responses

NCJ Number
Global Issues Volume: 6 Issue: 2 Dated: August 2001 Pages: 22-26
Phil Williams
Date Published
August 2001
5 pages
After identifying trends in organized crime's involvement in cybercrime, this article discusses responses to the organized crime-cybercrime synergy.
Organized crime groups are using the Internet for major fraud and theft activities, with a focus on electronic banking and commerce. Organized crime's diversification into various forms of Internet crime is closely related to another discernible trend, i.e., organized crime's involvement in what was once categorized as white-collar crime. Since Internet-related stock fraud results in a $10,000-million-per-year loss to investors, it offers a particularly lucrative area for organized crime involvement. The growth of "cyberextortion" is a third significant trend. A fourth trend is the use of computer viruses to gain access to account passwords in financial institutions. Other trends are to initiate cybercrimes from jurisdictions that have few if any laws against cybercrime and/or little capacity to enforce such laws; the use of the Internet for money laundering through international trade; and network connections between hackers or small-time criminals and organized crime. In addition to the development of appropriate laws that target organized crime's cybercrime methods, it is also important that governments and law enforcement agencies develop the capacity to implement and enforce these laws. This requires the development of expertise in the technology of cybercrime as well as effective information-sharing across agencies within a country and across national borders. Another important component of a strategy to combat cybercrime is partnership between governments and industry, especially the information technology sector.