Recently the rate of cyber crimes in the US and of course in Europe and the rest of the world has escalated. The financial loss from cyber crime in the U.S. exceeded $1.3 billion in 2016, a rise of 24 percent, according to a new report issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
2016 The Year of Cyber crime
The “2016 Internet Crime Report,” examined the most prevalent and most damaging forms of cyber crimes today – like business email compromise (BEC), ransom ware, tech support fraud, and extortion. It based its findings on nearly 300,000 complaints filed with the IC3, which compiles data from public complaints in order to refer cases to the appropriate law enforcement agencies as well as to identify trends.
It noted that though the statistics show a significant rise, the actual tally is much higher as only an estimated 15 percent of the nation’s fraud victims report their crimes to law enforcement. One security expert commented that if the IC3’s estimate of 15 percent is accurate, then the actual cost of cyber crime in the U.S. was likely closer to $9 billion. The loss from ransom ware attacks alone would be in the vicinity of $16 million.
In 2016, the top three crime types reported to the bureau were non-payment and non delivered, personal data breach and payment scams; while the top three crime types by reported loss were BEC, romance and confidence fraud, and non-payment and non-delivery scams.
One strategy cyber criminals used was so-called tech support fraud cases. In these instances, bad actors posing as tech support personnel from recognizable companies dupe unsuspecting victims into giving up their credentials, which then grants the fraudsters access to the victim computers. Once in, the miscreants can charge victims’ credit cards for fake AV software, install malware, or even siphon out personal details, later be used in other scams. The IC3 received more than 10,000 reports of this variety of scam in 2016, resulting in the loss by victims of nearly $8 million.
“They’ll trick you into letting them into your computer,” Donna Gregory, unit chief at IC3, said in a statement. “You open the door and allow them in. You may think you’re just watching them install a program to get rid of a virus, but they are really doing a lot of damage behind the scenes.”
Cyber crime law enforcement agencies swing into action
A lot also has been done by different government Cyber crime agencies in the US and the world to curb the menace of the unwarranted attack of the cyber space. Recently, an 18-year-old student in northwestern England has been charged in a series of cyber-attacks on the websites of nearly a dozen multinational firms. Jack Chappell is accused of supplying software that crashes websites by flooding them with data and with running a help-desk for cyber criminals. West Midlands Police said in a statement that “Chappell allegedly attacked the websites of T-Mobile, EE, Vodafone, O2, BBC, BT, Amazon, Netflix, Virgin Media and the National Crime Agency.” He is also accused of assisting hackers in a 2015 attack on NatWest.
The force’s cyber-crime unit worked with the FBI, Israeli Police and Europol’s European Cyber-crime Center during the investigation. Chappell has been charged alongside an American citizen. All these arrests, sometimes extraditing the individual are done to serve as a deterrent to ensure that the rate of cyber crime is brought to lowest minimum.