It is interesting to note that in the current down economy, physical crime rates are going up (as one might expect).
There are also indications that *cyber*-crime rates are following the same trend, and have also been going up as per McAfee's 2008 Virtual Criminology Report, and a Panda Labs study that found a correlation between stock market drops and the continued rise of malware. In addition, the New York Times reports that the bad guys are winning, in large part to the spread of malware.
While the global markets have been contracting, Symantec estimates that cyber-criminal economies are booming, and the Germans believe that cybercrime is likely to wreak as much havoc as the credit crisis in the coming years if international regulation is not improved.
So that's the bad news.
The good news is that the good guys are starting to mobilize! For instance, the FBI is reaching out beyond U.S. borders (as the Internet has no borders), and is helping organize law enforcement, academia and industry develop international solutions to the problem. This coming January 6 - 9, the FBI, together with Fordam University, have organized the first International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS 2009) in New York City. In some of the conference sessions, Sandra Stanar-Johnson, a senior executive at the NSA, will be talking about the US Comprehensive National Cyber Security Initiative, and Darren Mott, special agent with the FBI Cyber-Division, will be talking about The Rise of Eastern European Organized Cyber Crime. I will also be giving a talk on Protecting Your Organization From Cybercrime to tie up the conference, so please feel free to register for the conference if it is something you might be interested in.
Also, StopBadware.Org, a joint partnership between the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Oxford Internet Institue, along with its industry partners (Google included), has been doing a great job of working to raise awareness of the problem and build community to address the problem.
Last but not least (for those of you that were not already aware), I have left my lofty post at Google to help. Together with two stellar co-founders, I have started Dasient, a company that is helping businesses with revenue loss problems that can arise as a result of cyber-criminal activity. I can't say too much more than that right now as we are in stealth-mode, but you can undoubtedly expect that there will be more news to come!
Neil Daswani, PhD