Computer security to the test of organized crime

It is no longer uncommon to talk about organized crime in terms of cybersecurity.

Indeed, the resurgence of attacks by groups of well-organized hackers for specific purposes, in recent years has begun to give a completely different image to cybercrime. It often happens that some even evoke the notion of mafia at this stage. Yet we know that cyber criminals tend to organize themselves differently to the traditional organized crime we know.

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Thomas Holt, a professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University and co-author of a study on cybercrime in relation to classic crime, noted: "We are not talking about mafia bosses like Tony Soprano who order cybercrimes against financial institutions (…) There are certainly various groups and nations that commit cybercrimes, but the ones that cause the most damage are unstructured groups of individuals who come together to do something, succeed, and then disappear. ». In other words, we should avoid mixing organized crime with organized cybercrime.

When we take the example of classic criminal groups such as the mafia, there is a historical basis and the possibility of take a material approach and the physicality of the latter. In the case of hacker groups for example, it is difficult to know when they are born and when do they disappear? When do they act and when does it they don't act. There is no evidence to determine the status with certainty and efficiency unlike the first. "We found that these cybercriminals worked within organizations, but these organizations depending on what you do," the researcher notes. He will add: They may have links to each other, but they are not groups complex and sophisticated worked for several years, in the image other criminal networks. »

In the context of cybercriminal groups, the meeting is normally based on talent for specific objectives. "So if someone has specific expertise in password encryption, and another person can code in a specific programming language, they can work together to be more effective – and cause more damage – than if they act alone (…) Many of these criminals get to know each other online, at least initially, in order to communicate with each other. In some of the larger cases we examined, there was a central group of hackers who all knew each other very well, and then developed a network that could be used to transport money or convert the information obtained into ringing and stumbling currencies. ».

The researcher also notes: "As the "Dark Web" takes up more space, and crimes are paid for with cryptocurrencies, hacker behaviours change and become more difficult to identify clearly, and it will be more difficult to understand the functioning and structure of criminal relationship networks." In other words, cybercrime is more than crime in the common sense of the word. It is a set of practices, although mostly illegal, but characterized by a complexity and dematerialization of the relationship between victims and criminals.

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