The Fastest Growing Crime Involves Your Computer

Sue Marquette Poremba

I saw an article earlier this week that stated that people are now spending more time on the Internet than watching television. This is hardly surprising news-heck, an increasing number of people are turning to the Internet to watch their favorite television shows.


Perhaps, then, it isn't surprising to find out that the fastest growing crime is cyber crime. After all, a good deal of that time spent on the Internet involves transactions containing data that is both work-related and personal. Gallup released a poll that stated that 11 percent of all households in the U.S. reported some sort of computer-related crime. An article on Yahoo suggested that 65 percent of the 2 billion Internet users world-wide have fallen victim to a cyber crime, or as the article stated:

[A] trade so lucrative it is thought to be worth several times more than the illegal drugs racket.

An article on 24/7 Wall St. claims that perhaps the cyber crime isn't as bad as the media make it out to be:

Before people get excited about rampant cyber crime - which does exist and is a serious issue - , it's important to remember a few things. First, practically every media story about cybersecurity such as hackers and viruses, quotes experts from security firms who have a vested interest in scaring the bejesus out of the public about dangers lurking behind every website. Moreover, there is more crime online because there are increasing numbers of transactions being done there. Criminals go where there are opportunities.

This fits into the whole premise that as more people spend more time on the Internet, the instances of cyber crime increase. I get that. What the article doesn't discuss is how stealth cyber crime is-many people don't realize they are a victim until days or months or years after the fact, and many people are victims not because they did anything wrong or were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but because their information was leaked thanks to another person's negligence. Then factor in the global aspects-for example: A person in the United States has a computer hit by a Trojan written by someone in Russia and with that Trojan, money is stolen from a bank account by a person in China.


What the 24/7 Wall St. article also missed was that somebody has to alert the public to cyber crime and other security risks. The average person is woefully unaware of the risks that are out there. That's one reason why it is so important for businesses to be on the front line of security.

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