Cybercrime – A High-Tech Fight on a Global Scale

As the internet continues to grow in reach, speed, and capability, so do the criminal networks and hackers that exploit its vulnerabilities. The global impact of cybercrime may be costing the economy more than $600 billion a year – up significantly from an estimated $445 billion in 2014, according to a recent report by a global cybersecurity firm.

Most of those increases are likely due to the low cost of entry into the cybercrime market and the rapid spread of artificial intelligence. Networks in third-world countries have expanded in scope and increased in speed, and the number of criminals who now have access to high-speed internet has created myriad problems for global consumers and businesses.


A cybercrime is an offense carried out using a computer or a computer network, typically through the internet. The global technology industry partners with large corporations, small businesses, and individual consumers to protect monetary assets and user data from internet thieves.


Law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels are working together with technology companies to protect our identities and maintain the integrity of sensitive networks. The FBI has been focusing its efforts on four distinct areas of cybercriminality: computer and network intrusions, ransomware, identity theft, and online predators.

The FBI is taking some proactive steps to prevent cybercriminals from accessing our systems and compromising your information.


An attack of this nature could be devastating to any city, state, or to the entire country because it can severely impact infrastructure. A cybercriminal could damage day-to-day operations of mass transit systems, water and energy sources, emergency communication networks, major banking systems, and medical treatment facilities. An attack on our networks could also limit national defense capabilities – leaving us susceptible to hostile foreign threats.

Network intrusion via malware or a virus has the potential to expose sensitive financial information, compromising the savings of every American, or worse, can cause a shut down to vital systems, leading to a shortage of basic resources, potentially costing billions of dollars in damage, and putting human lives at risk.

In 2016, the FBI budget for cybersecurity was $14 billion, which is an increase of nearly 10% from the previous year. The FBI begins recruiting prospective cybersecurity agents early , often looking for qualified applicants at the high school and early college level.


Criminals use software designed to infect a user’s computer to seize control of a device (ransomware). The infection occurs when the user clicks on a nefarious hyperlink. If ransomware infects your computer or network, it will instruct you to pay a “ransom” to unlock, fix, or remove the virus. The FBI does not support paying the ransom in response to any such attack and provides tips for dealing with an infection and avoiding one in the first place.

Ransomware attacks in the United States increased 250% in 2017, according to a recent article in Newsweek. The estimated cost to repair the damage from these attacks is more than $5 billion.


Criminals will use Social Security numbers, names, addresses, telephone numbers, and birth dates to steal your identity. Medicare numbers, passport numbers, and bank accounts are also vulnerable to this type of theft. Reports of identity theft almost doubled between 2010 and 2015. Experts suspect the actual number is much higher, because many crimes go unreported, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Victims often don’t know about the theft until it’s too late. Prevalent identity theft schemes include suspicious phishing e-mails to deceive potential victims into divulging personal information, including passwords, dates of birth, addresses, and Social Security numbers. You should never open a suspicious email and never provide sensitive information if prompted.

Identity theft can ruin your life, potentially costing you your job, affecting relationships, and make it harder or impossible to secure a loan or qualify for a mortgage. A monetary loss due to a stolen identity can even cost you your car or home. It can take years to resolve an identity theft case, so it is important to protect yourself. The U.S. government has compiled information for consumers to learn more about identify theft, how to prevent it, and what to do if you are a victim. If you have been accused of identity theft crimes in Georgia, our identity theft lawyers are here to help protect your rights and freedom.


The internet has opened a dark portal for predators to lure vulnerable youth and children into compromising violent and sexual situations. Nearly 800,000 people are registered sex offenders in the United States – and those are just predators who have convictions. An estimated 95% of children and teens between the ages of 12 and 17 are online, and one in five report they’ve experienced unwanted sexual solicitations online.

Policing predatory behavior and eradicating the spread of child pornography continues to be a top FBI priority, along with local and state law enforcement officials. Officers routinely go undercover on web boards and in chat rooms to monitor predatory behavior and protect the safety of our children and youths.


Every year, Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute surveys more than 500 organizations to acquire information about the security issues that affected them in the past year. Highlights from the 2017 report are as follows:

  • Thirty percent responded identifying insider attacks as more costly or damaging than outsider attacks
  • About a third of all participants experienced an insider attack
  • Forty-four percent reported that they could not identify the person or persons responsible for an attack
  • Seven percent reported not having enough evidence to prosecute

Government representatives are moving to address the issue of cybercrime in a few ways this year. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch proposed giving federal law agencies more power to investigate corporate cooperation in cybercrimes. Other representatives have proposed laws that would require enterprises to disclose incidents of cyberattack to the government.


Cyber security is a global issue that requires global attention and cooperation; a testament to this fact is that, globally, online fraud is on target to exceed $6 trillion annually by 2021. Networks of professional cybercriminal enterprises tasked with combatting cybercrime around the globe will continue to require sophisticated tools and techniques to conduct investigations and launch effective protection and counterattacks.

Police around the world must continue to find innovative ways to fight global-scale cybercrime. They must continuously both interrupt the nefarious criminal technological systems and locate the individuals responsible for cyberattacks and hold them responsible. Shutting down the criminal technological system is not enough if the criminals responsible are not brought to justice.

Constantly evolving cybercrime enterprises and the criminals who operate them will learn from their mistakes and implement new ways to target victims. It is crucial that police departments around the world share their experiences and work together to improve their cybercrime-fighting tactics, as well.

Criminals will find a way to exploit the weaknesses of the internet. Large corporations, small businesses, individual consumers, and government entities are at constant risk of attack. It’s important to stay vigilant, for parents to monitor their children’s activities online, and for us all to question suspicious emails and inquiries. Always report any suspicious activity to the FBI and if you have been accused of cybercrimes, it may be time to get in touch with a qualified criminal attorney.