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There Are No Organized Crime Mafias in Cybercrime, Says Study

The research also debunked common misconceptions that sophisticated organized criminal networks - such as the Russian mafia - are the ones creating cybercrime

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Cybercrime
Cybercrime groups function and work together to cause an estimated $445-600 billion of harm globally per year. Pixabay

There is no ‘Tony Soprano mob boss type’ who is ordering cybercrime against financial institutions globally, say researchers, adding that there are no such thing as organized crime mafias to date.

Cybercrime groups function and work together to cause an estimated $445-600 billion of harm globally per year.

“Certainly, there are different nation states and groups engaging in cybercrime, but the ones causing the most damage are loose groups of individuals who come together to do one thing, do it really well – for a period of time – then disappear,” explained Thomas Holt, professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University.

Holt said that organized cybercrime networks are made up of hackers coming together because of functional skills that allow them to collaborate to commit the specific crime.

“So, if someone has specific expertise in password encryption and another can code in a specific programming language, they work together because they can be more effective – and cause greater disruption – together than alone,” said Holt, the co-author of the study.

Holt and lead author ER Leukfeldt, researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, reviewed 18 cases from which individuals were prosecuted for cases related to phishing. “We found that these cybercriminals work in organisations, but those organisations differ depending on the offense,” Holt said.

“They may have relationships with each other, but they’re not multi-year, multi-generation, sophisticated groups that you associate with other organised crime networks,” he noted in the journal International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology.

cybercrime
There is no ‘Tony Soprano mob boss type’ who is ordering cybercrime against financial institutions globally, say researchers, adding that there are no such thing as organized crime mafias to date. Pixabay

As things move to the Dark Web and use cryptocurrencies and other avenues for payment, hacker behaviours change and become harder to fully identify, it’s going to become harder to understand some of these relational networks.

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The research also debunked common misconceptions that sophisticated organized criminal networks – such as the Russian mafia – are the ones creating cybercrime. “We hope to see better relationships between law enforcement and academia, better information sharing, and sourcing so we can better understand actor behaviours,” Holt observed. (IANS)

  • Lou Vile

    Whoever wrote this story must be bought and paid for by Google they are the biggest thieves online today taking 2 pennies from everyone and every website online and the proof is right before your eyes if you care to look. Alphabet Inc. aka. Google is the largest organized crime group and I intend to prove it in a United states federal court case no. 3:19-CV-00527-DJH-RSE. The case is going on right now.

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  • Lou Vile

    Whoever wrote this story must be bought and paid for by Google they are the biggest thieves online today taking 2 pennies from everyone and every website online and the proof is right before your eyes if you care to look. Alphabet Inc. aka. Google is the largest organized crime group and I intend to prove it in a United states federal court case no. 3:19-CV-00527-DJH-RSE. The case is going on right now.

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Google Having Access to Fitbit’s Data a Privacy Risk: EDPB

Google accessing Fitbit data major privacy risk: EU advisors

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Google
EDPB was warned the European Commission of the potential privacy risks of Google having access to Fitbit's data. Pixabay

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) was warned the European Commission of the potential privacy risks of Google having access to Fitbit’s data.

This comes in the wake of the tech giant’s plan to scoop up the health and activity data of millions of Fitbit users, months after its parent company Alphabet acquired it.

Regulators are in the process of considering whether to allow the tech giant to gobble up all this data, TechCrunch reported on Thursday.

In a statement, the board writes: “There are concerns that the possible further combination and accumulation of sensitive personal data regarding people in Europe by a major tech company could entail a high level of risk to the fundamental rights to privacy and to the protection of personal data.”

Google
Regulators are in the process of considering whether to allow Google to gobble up all this data, TechCrunch reported on Thursday. Pixabay

It is pertinent to note that, as it stands today, Google is still waiting on regulatory approval for its Fitbit acquisition.

In the EU, how privacy is handled will have a huge impact on whether or not the deal goes through.

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The EDPB also leaves a reminder that Google and Fitbit are obligated to conduct a transparent assessment of “the data protection requirements and privacy implications” regarding this merger. The US Justice Department has also raised concerns, according to 9to5Google.

Aplphabet-Google acquired Fitbit as a whole for $2.1 billion late last year, a deal that includes the user data of Fitbit customers including activity, sleep, location, and other health data. (IANS)