U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Organized Crime, Terrorism and Cybercrime

NCJ Number
Louise I. Shelley
Date Published
10 pages
This paper examines how transnational organized crime and terrorist groups have made use of information technology to plan and implement their criminal activities.
In the age of information technology, messages can be transmitted instantly without leaving a trace; massive wire fund transfers can occur across multiple jurisdictions in an hour, and international plotting can occur within chat rooms and protected communications within a computer system. There has been a movement of money to areas where regulation is weak. Even traditional systems of underground banking have been revolutionized by the ability to provide almost instantaneous instructions on the delivery of funds. Both terrorist and transnational criminal organizations have used the full variety of information technology to achieve desired results, including the use of cell phones, satellite phones, computers, and virtual private networks. The latter are particularly valuable for undetected international operations. Because information technology is primarily in the private sector, public-private partnerships are needed to locate abuse of the Internet by transnational criminals. This may include network monitoring by private corporations to detect suspicious Web site or usage patterns. The development of international teams of computer specialists is important in effectively monitoring transnational crime and terrorism. International cooperation in the mutual sharing of information is a key response to the problem. Further citizen assistance must be solicited for the purpose of identifying problematic and suspicious Web sites.