Everything You Need to Know About Cybercrime

01/06/23 6 minute read

What is cybercrime?

Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network. The internet’s speed, convenience, and anonymity make computer-based variations of financial crimes – such as ransomware, fraud, and money laundering – easier to carry out. While most cybercrimes are carried out with the intent of financial gain, some are carried out against computers or devices directly to damage or disable them. Cybercrime can include many different types of profit-driven criminal activity, including email and internet fraud, identity fraud, and attempts to get access to financial accounts, credit cards, or other payment information.

Another form of cybercrime is cryptojacking, which is an attack that uses scripts to mine cryptocurrencies within browsers without the user’s consent. Some cryptojacking attacks may involve loading cryptocurrency mining software to the victim’s system while others involve in-browser mining if the user’s browser has a tab or window open on a malicious site. 

>> Learn about the Petro, a cryptocurrency, created by the Venezuelan government <<

Cyberespionage is a crime where an individual hacks into systems or networks to gain access to confidential information held by a government or other organization. These crimes can include every type of cyberattack to gather, modify or destroy data, as well as using network-connected devices, like webcams or security cameras, to spy on a targeted individual or groups and monitoring communications, including emails or text messages.

Why is cybercrime important?

The challenge with cybercrime is that the impact is vast but hard to measure accurately. McAfee released a report that determined that the impact of cybercrime on the global economy has surpassed $1 trillion, with two thirds of companies reporting a cyber attack. IP and financial crimes account for 75 percent of those total losses.

Outside of financial losses, cybercrime can also be detrimental to businesses in other ways, including:

  • Damage to investor perception after a security breach 
  • Increased costs for borrowing and greater difficulty in raising more capital as a result of a cyberattack
  • Loss of sensitive customer data, which can result in fines and penalties for companies
  • Damage to brand identity and loss of reputation after a cyberattack undermine customers’ trust in a company 

What is the latest in cybercrime legislation?

Cybercrimes can also have national security implications. In the US, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Division is the agency within the Department of Justice that is charged with combating cybercrime. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also sees strengthening the security and resilience of cyberspace as an important homeland security mission. Agencies such as the Secret Service and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have special divisions dedicated to combating cybercrime. These agencies work towards ensuring sensitive information remains protected from cyber attacks.

>> Watch Juan Zarate, author of Treasury’s War, discuss how to fight modern financial crime <<

Various laws and legislation have been enacted in addition to the agencies that have been established to deal with cybercrime. In 2015, the United Nations released the cybercrime repository, which is a central database that includes legislation, previous findings and case law on cybercrime and electronic evidence. The intention of the cybercrime repository is to assist countries and governments in their attempts to prosecute and stop cybercriminals.

In the US, the Computer and Fraud Abuse Act, enacted in 1986, covers a variety of cybercrimes as it prohibits intentionally accessing a computer without authorization. Another example of cybercrime legislation is the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which requires financial institutions to explain their information-sharing practices to their customers and to safeguard sensitive data.

How can I run efficient cybercrime investigations?

Whether you’re working for a financial institution looking to meet compliance requirements or a government investigator tracking down illicit cybercriminals, information is the key to success with financial cybercrimes. 

>> Hear from experts on why cash can be even harder to trace than cryptocurrency in AML investigations <<

With Sayari Graph, you can utilize source records and graph technology to map out connections and establish links between illicit financial actors, their infrastructure, and related business structures and transactions. The original source documents, and resulting audit trail, gives investigators the confidence to act on verifiable information – quickly

Want to see an investigation with public records in action? Watch our Master Class: Data and Graph Analytics for AML and KYC for a real world example. 

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