Chapter 4
Cybercrimes Against Assets
4.1 Understanding the context
The Internet enables economic crime
As we have seen, cybercrime is the natural extension of ordinary criminal
activity. Today, criminal acts are committed across cyberspace, separately
from or alongside crimes.
Because of the networking of resources and individuals, cybercrime is
highly effective. Not only companies, but also their information technologies
and assets, can become attractive targets for criminal organizations in search
of prot. This is a strategic threat to businesses, considering the fact that a
business’s assets can take the form of information rather then merely being
physical items to be secured.
By opening the corporate gates to the Internet through web servers and com-
munication services, enterprises expose themselves to the risks of attracting
the attention of criminals and of giving criminals a potential foothold. While
the Internet is a powerful communication tool, it is also a chaotic, dynamic,
and hostile environment, which can be used to undermine an organization and
serve as a vehicle for crime. The Internet can be seen as a high-crime zone.
Given the importance that organizations attach to their online presence, and
the growth of e-commerce activities, they are, in all likelihood, contributing
to the expansion of criminality on the Internet.
92 Cyberpower
Moreover, the Internet makes it easy to nd and exploit new means of
making money. This empowering feature is not, of course, lost on the crimi-
nal world. By embracing information technologies, criminals hope to increase
their earnings while minimizing their exposure to risk. As it has done for many
legitimate business activities, the Internet has empowered criminal ones. It
offers performance, speed and a layer of isolation for carrying out criminal
actions. These can be committed by individuals or small groups (the notion
of disorganized crime) as well as by organized crime syndicates or maas
(Figure 4.1).
Figure 4.1 The convergence of criminal actors in cyberspace.
Economic crime not only affects large organizations. Individuals, organi-
zations, and states can be hit by cyber economic crime activities with vary-
ing levels of nuisance and loss. Information and communication technologies
allow isolated individuals to carry out economic crime activities at a distance
and hidden behind a screen. They can either work alone or in concert with oth-
ers, as organized virtual crime gangs of various sizes formed for a particular
purpose or target. The information and software available on the Internet can
bring together individuals, expertise, and tools and thereby facilitate cyber-
Furthermore, given the high degree of economic expertise and skills that
economic crime sometimes requires, the Internet can facilitate preparations

Get Cyber Power now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.