Last week, a report released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and McAfee suggested that “… likely annual cost to global economy from cybercrime is more than $400 billion. A conservative estimate would be $375 billion in losses, while the maximum could be as much as $575 billion.” This amount includes hard figures such as money stolen from a bank account or charged to a credit card. It also includes soft figures such as the loss of intellectual property, which is much harder to estimate. In any case, the estimated loss is more that the gross domestic product (GDP) of most countries. The good news is that IT solutions exist that will help reduce this figure.
How IT Is Battling Cyber Crime
IT is battling cybercrime in two ways. One is education of the public on safe computing and the other is through better IT security applications both for server and mobile platforms. Law enforcement agencies around the globe are starting to add more IT security specialists to their organizations. They realize that cybercrime is not a physical crime but a virtual one, although real money or property is lost. They often are not equipped to detect or enforce this type of crime so they are turning to IT specialists to provide that expertise. Credit card companies and banks are also working to devise new IT solutions to detect cybercrime before it happens. I have been issued a new credit card twice in the last few years because of activities that I did not initiate. The first was caught because there was activity at online stores that I do not or would not frequent and the security filters flagged that and notified me. The second time, it appeared that my physical card had been used within twenty minutes in Oregon and Texas. Again, that was flagged as an impossibility, so I was notified. These are examples of how IT can and does play a significant role in stopping cybercrime.
Career Opportunities as a Cyber Crime Fighter
As mentioned above, law enforcement such as the FBI and local agencies are increasing their force dedicated to cybercrime. They are looking for IT specialists in the area of IT security. They are looking for those individuals that have a degree in IT security such as Carnegie Mellon’s master’s degree in Information Security and Technology Management or certifications such as the CISSP or Certified Information Systems Security Professional. This additional training prepares you to take on the challenge of fighting cybercrime. There are growing opportunities for those who have skills in the IT security field. If your current skillset is becoming obsolete, this would be an emerging field that you should definitely consider.
Have you ever been a victim of cybercrime? Did you lose anything or was it detected before a loss occurred? Do you have people in your organization that are dedicated to monitoring and fighting cybercrime? Let me know your story.
Kelly Brown is an IT professional, adjunct faculty for the University of Oregon, and academic director of the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.