Reuters reports that a recent Europol report highlights the difficulties posed by technological advances to law enforcement trying to fight cybercrime. Titled “The Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment”, it calls for greater consensus across the bloc in toughening laws that limit the amount of data that can be collected when investigating cybercrime and the length of time it can be stored.
Cybercriminals are frequently hanging onto to stolen data for several years before finally making use of it for financial game. By then, intelligence data collected on their activities may have been purged in accordance with existing data privacy laws.
Virtual currencies like Bitcoin are highlighted as a “considerable challenge in tracking such transactions or even identifying activities such as money laundering.”
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The darknet in particular makes it extremely difficult for authorities to investigate the underground trade of drugs, weapons, stolen goods, stolen ID’s and credit card data, forged documents and child pornography.
Adding to the sophistication of the cybercrime economy is the advent of “crime-as-a-service” offerings. Criminal activity is effectively “outsourced” to dedicated parties, who market their expertise in exchange for proceeds from the crime. Examples include: the bundling of stolen ID’s and credit card data; pay-per-install of malware; and translation services to help phishing attempts sound more legitimate.
There is also a growing employment of big data analytics by criminals to help them plan their most lucrative missions.