Computer Interconnectivity Raising Cyber Crime

The U.S. GAO (Government of Accountability Office) related on July 24, 2007 a strong link between computer interconnectivity and criminal activities. It reported that cyber criminals abuse this interconnectivity to make financial gains and to perform malicious acts like identity fraud, child exploitation, and terrorism.

Cyber crime has been affecting the US economy significantly and is a threat to the country's security interests. Various experts and studies have estimated that such crime directly cost the US economy billions of dollars every year. US organizations have suffered an annual loss of $67.2 Billion as a result of computer crime, according to the GAO report.

Terrorist groups too have committed cyber crime to gather money to carry out their operations. Despite the loss of information and money, the exact consequences of cyber crime is not known often due to lack of correct detection and reporting.

IT personnel are struggling to enforce stronger security, and law enforcement bodies are battling to curb the expanding problem that is particularly vibrant overseas and is beyond government's legal access. A number of private and public entities try to fulfill their responsibilities of protecting against, identifying, pursuing and investigating, and prosecuting cyber criminals.

The word 'cyber' concerns providing security to two worlds - the public sector and the private sector. With regard to the latter, the Department of Homeland Security could provide strength by demonstrating how to control its networks. Unfortunately, GAO's efforts and the government's own probing into the department's activities have reflected conflicting aspects of the phrase 'information security'. This is not acceptable, said Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, according to InformationWeek publication on July 24, 2007.

The report further relates that the various kinds of cyber crime are rising. These include botnets, spam, hacking, phishing, Trojan horses and other malware. They all represented an impressive growth during 2006-07.

The report noted that there were an average of 63,912 bot computers in a single day during July-December 2006. Further, there were 166,248 exclusive phishing e-mails during the same months in 2006. Before that, nearly 40% of banking and financial services suffered the maximum attacks from trojans in 2005.

Related article: Computer Virus Writers Adopt New Strategy

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