In an age where information is stored and transmitted across free-flowing digital channels, most persons take for granted the possibility of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands. Before you fire off another email or swipe your credit card at your favourite establishment, get the low down on how criminals are targeting your digital information.
WHAT IS CYBERCRIME?
Cybercrimes are defined as: "Offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (Chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones (SMS/MMS)" (Halder, Jaishankar).
NOT JUST COMPUTERS
Have you ever considered that the private information on the desktop PC at your office or in the living room at home could be accessed by unscrupulous individuals in Poland?
"Yes," you say rather smugly, "That's why I have anti-virus software."
But what about the private information on the smartphone in your trouser pocket? That sensitive email you read on your phone about the company's financial projections, or that salacious conversation you conducted by text message last week? Now that has probably not crossed your mind.
The truth is that as technology advances, as we give smartphones and tablet PCs access to more of our sensitive information and increasingly use them to control intricate aspects of our personal and professional lives, the greater the cyber threat against the security of that information becomes.
"The mobile threat to devices, smartphones, tablets, anything in the mobile world, is one of the top five security risks that McAfee and Intel view as a major issue for the next five years," confirmed Kevin Reardon, senior director of McAfee's Worldwide Value Consulting.
"Last year, 75 million unique pieces of malware were identified on the Internet, 2,000 pieces of malware per day. It doesn't matter what part of the world I'm in, that's a real issue for me and the country that I'm in."
Read the full article ‘Cybercrime transcends all borders - McAfee consultant’
PROTECTING YOUR PINS
Consumers are also warned to be on the lookout for persons who are targeting their Personal Identification Numbers so that they can get access to their hard earned cash.
Using micro-pin cameras and other technological devices, debit-card fraudsters have been collecting data from debit cards, as well as personal identification numbers (PINs), in an effort to withdraw money from the accounts of cardholders.
Another crucial revelation in relation to the fraud is that debit-card data and PINs have increasingly been retrieved at places where cardholders do business.
Former chairman of the Jamaica Bankers Association's anti-fraud committee, Michael Gordon, said the police have made arrests at particular locations where attempts were made to capture data and record PINs.
He said it has been discovered that persons at certain establishments were being paid as much as $10,000, in some instances, for providing information on debit cards.
Using small hand-held devices, unscrupulous persons at particular establishments swipe the information on to these devices and then hand the portable machine to cardowners, while observing the PINs being inserted by the user. He said on many occasions, the compromise was not at the ABM.
HOW ARE THE JAMAICAN AUTHORITIES DEALING WITH CYBERCRIMES?
There is a Communication Forensic and Cyber Unit (CFCU) that falls within the ambit of the Organised Crime Investigation Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). It has been in existence since December 2010 and its mandate is to assist all investigations involving the use of any forms of digital media. The follow are departments with specific area of focus:
- Communication Forensics – Call data record analysis
- Computer Forensics – Extract, examine, analyse data from computers
- Mobile Forensics – Extract, examine, analyse data from cellular phones
- All other forms of Digital Forensics – Any media that is digital and has a memory
- Audio and Video Forensics
- Cybercrime Forensics
Head of the Communication, Forensic and Cybercrimes Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Inspector Warren Williams says the Unit, which was established in 2010, has managed to solve 30 per cent of the cases it has investigated.
However, he says there has been an increase in crimes committed via the use of computer and other electronic devices in Jamaica and has warned Jamaicans not to put sensitive information on the Internet.
KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THE CYBERCRIMES ACT
The Cybercrimes Act, 2010
'Legislating Cybercrimes in Jamaica' by M. Georgia Gibson-Henlin
Cybercrime stories covered by The Gleaner
Halder, D., & Jaishankar, K. (2011) Cyber crime and the Victimization of Women: Laws, Rights, and Regulations. Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global. ISBN 978-1-60960-830-9