When was the last time you heard about a bank robbery on the news? Probably fairly recently as bank hacks happen all the time and there have been some big ones that make it to newspapers. But when was the last time you heard about a bank robbery with actual robbers going to the back? Unless you’re watching a movie, this doesn’t happen very much anymore. When it comes to worrying about a bank robbery, most people are less worried about a traditional bank robbery on their bank than a cyber-robbery. Security in banks is very high and furthermore, all banks have to be insured against bank robberies. After all, banks have security details and security cameras. But cyber-insurance barely exists and there are no surveillance cameras in the digital world.
When it comes to cyber-crime, the thing that blocks police from catching them is international cooperation. Like the old bank robbers who would flee across the border, safe in the knowledge that they wouldn’t be caught past the line, cyber criminals operate knowing that countries are not yet cooperating well enough to catch them. While the cyber-criminal in Australia may be caught by Australian authorities, the interconnected nature of the internet means a criminal abroad may be much harder to apprehend. However, countries are trying to work together more efficiently and Australia is by no means left out.
The Avalanche botnet was brought down last November. It was estimated to have defrauded victims of hundreds of millions of dollars (USD) and was supported by 200 servers and almost a million domains. This action was undertaken and completed by Europol, the FBI and many other agencies of varying nations of which more than 40 were involved (including Australia). Operation Tarpit, in December, resulted in the arrest of 30 people who were one step behind organising DDoS attacks as in this operation the people arrested were charged with paying for DDoS attacks. Australia again played a role in the investigation and arresting with the operation being coordinated by Europol.
Countries are working together more now to catch cyber-criminals and this is a step in the right direction. However, the overall law enforcement processes for prosecuting cybercrime is not yet fully developed. The interconnected nature of the world means that even if relatively few countries do not involve themselves and cooperate this leaves spaces that hackers can use to launch attacks. The areas of the world in which cyber criminals can operate with ease have been reducing but as a result of this, the areas in which they can still operate has seen the development of the infrastructure to enable cybercrime. So while criminals have fewer countries to work from, they also have more places in the countries they can work from to work out of.
While not every country agrees on the same definitions of cybercrime, it will remain difficult to have full coordination and hence it will imperative in the near future to have laws that state exactly what a cybercrime is at an international level.