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Internet Crime Thrives, Hackers Motivated to Gain Experience and Money

It is safe to say Internet crime continues to thrive with almost 352,000 complaints to the FBI last year and losses totaling more than $2.7 billion.

The FBI’s 2018 annual internet crime complaints report was released this week. It paints a bleak picture, and it is safe to say internet crime continues to thrive. The agency reports receiving almost 352,000 complaints last year with losses totaling more than $2.7 billion. Internet crime impacts the public and private sector, and even the FBI itself is a target where hackers are concerned.

The most prevalent crime types reported by victims were non-payment or non-delivery of products, extortion, and personal data breach. The top three with the highest reported losses were business email scams, where companies are tricked into wiring money or buying and sending gift cards to a criminal; confidence and romance fraud, and non-payment or non-delivery of products. Of the $2.7 billion in reported losses, $1.2 billion was from businesses and individuals tricked into wiring money to a criminal. This does not account for crimes that go unreported.

Source: Internet Crime by Type, 2018 Internet Crime Report, Federal Bureau of Investigation

The report comes on the heels of a breach of several FBI-affiliated websites, wherein multiple files containing the personal information of thousands of federal agents and law enforcement officers have been uploaded for sale online. This information contained about 4,000 records detailing the names, email addresses, job titles, phone numbers, and postal addresses.

According to one hacker involved they have hacked more than 1,000 sites and soon the information obtained will be made available for purchase. When asked if they were worried that the files would put federal agents and law enforcement at risk, they responded: “Probably, yes.” The real safety risks the hack generates do not appear to the matter. The end goal, ultimately, according to the same hacker involved was “Experience and money.”

Despite massive efforts around the world to curb the increasing likelihood of falling victim to internet crime, the risks are more diverse and costly than ever before. No one is safe, including federal agents and law enforcement. Collaborative efforts are required from private and public sector security agents. Cyber and physical security professionals must break down their silos. What is crucial for everyone is to move past simple remediation. Security professionals must not only get better at detecting breaches before they happen, but they must also investigate attacks to their source when they are successful. It is necessary to break down the illusion of anonymity and impunity on the Dark Web.

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