In what can only be viewed as an indication of the systemic nature of Internet criminal activities, the FBI has announced that the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has received two million reports of online offenses since its inception in 2000.
Statistics reported by the organization, which was was established as a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), indicate the losses from cyber crime have doubled in recent years.
It is important to note that the statistics are based only on data from crimes reported to IC3. Many crimes go undiscovered or unreported to the agency, so the actual number and associated losses may be much higher.
"Complaints range from fraud and non-fraud categories, including auction fraud, non-delivery of merchandise, credit card fraud, computer intrusions, spam/unsolicited email, and child pornography. The top five categories of complaints include non-delivered merchandise and/or payment; identity theft; credit card fraud, auction fraud, and computer fraud," reports NetworkWorld's Michael Cooney.
Consumers and businesses must be proactive in addressing security issues, as these problems are only compounded by a lack of awareness, failure to follow security best practices, and general complacency.
Information security professionals have produced several reports over the last few years that indicate solutions to the vast majority of system-based vulnerabilities are readily available.
Though it is unlikely internet crime can ever be eliminated, due diligence can go a long way in reversing current trends, and will significantly reduce both the number of incidents and overall losses.