Email is better than drugs*

*if you are in organised crime.

Yep, apparently last year computer related crime, covering such nasties as corporate espionage, child pornography, stock manipulation, extortion, and piracy, generated more income for the criminals than the sales of illegal drugs. Together it is thought to have made $105 billion, that’s around £65 billion. Blimey.

Well, sort-of-blimey. This would be a great story if it wasn’t for the simple question of how on earth they calculated these amounts. The point of crime is that it’s hidden from authorities and as such they might be catching 5% or 95% of the criminals without ever really knowing for sure.

I love the next bit though:

Asked if there was evidence of links between the funding of terrorism and cybercrime, McNiven said: “There is evidence of links between them. But what’s more important is our refusal or failure to create secure systems, we can do it but it’s an issue of costs.”

Of course there would be evidence of links between them. There’s always evidence of links between anything naughty and terrorism these days. Funny that, isn’t it? Could it be that this is just a way of scaring people and trying to justify government funding? Oo, perhaps.

Let’s also look at that list: ‘corporate espionage’ that’s got to be a fairly specialist market there, child porn is seriously nasty and I can’t imagine (and I certainly hope) that there are very few people involved with that, then tacked on at the end of the list we have ‘piracy’. Hm. Bearing in mind the competing definitions of piracy that could potentially be almost every person who has ever used any sort of media. Lending a CD to a friend could be classed as piracy, by some company’s perspectives, and the amount of non-licensed copies of Micro$oft Windows floating around is astonishing although clearly that really is piracy. On the list you’ve got some significant but essentially small, organised markets, and then a huge group that probably covers most computer owners in the world. I can’t help but feel that skews things a little.

We all know that ‘cybercrime’ is a problem, but this kind of story is just scaremongering: yes! Lend that CD to your friend and you let the terrorists win!

Am I the only person who, on hearing the word ‘cybercrime’, envisions a devious looking robot that’s twizzling a 1920s silent-film bad guy moustache?

Source here.

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