Cybercrime is becoming an increasingly significant threat around the globe. In the past, typical cybercrime included acts such as data or identity theft, intentional network crashes, or financial thievery. With technological advancement rapidly expanding and web-connected devices increasingly popular, the world is managed by computer systems. This understanding has allowed for a new category of cybercrime to immerge, and one that at its full potential will be extremely dangerous. Criminals are now using malware in addition to other cyber attack tools to carry out theft and fraud in the real world. This type of cybercrime also gives way for cyber terrorist attacks and the first “cyberweapons.” Several countries have already developed cyberweapons that could potentially harm other countries’ infrastructure systems and essential services. With cyber espionage tools on the rise, aided with the lack of trace that a cyber crime leaves, stronger emphasis will have to be placed on cyber security and creating higher standards for critical infrastructure security systems.
Reported cybercrimes with real world consequences:
- Drug cartel hacks computer system running the shipping port, resulting in the unloading of several containers worth of cocaine.
- Mobsters hack their way into mining system, allowing them to tap into tons of coal to sell in secret.
- Gang hacks a system that issues loyalty cards for a chain of gas stations, in order to receive huge fuel discounts.
- In 2008, an aircraft’s central computer system was infected with malware, potentially preventing the detection of technical problems causing the plane to crash and over 150 people to lose their lives.
- The Stuxnet virus infected a country’s enrichment facility in 2009-2010, destroying about a fifth of their nuclear centrifuges. No one was killed, but the attack itself exemplified the potential chaos that could result from such a security breach of physical critical infrastructure.