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20.03.2013
Internet has paved way for 'new breed' of organised criminals
The digital revolution has spawned a "new breed" of organised criminals, who are using the internet to target companies and individuals all over the world.

This is according to a new in-depth study conducted by Europol - the European Union's law enforcement agency - which highlighted the fact that 3,600 crime syndicates are currently known to be in operation in the EU.

Entitled 'The EU Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment', the report looked at the increasingly sophisticated methods being used by hackers to get hold of sensitive data.

It confirmed that the web has enabled thieves to commit far more crimes in a much shorter space of time and they have become extremely difficult to track down.

In the past, mobsters and crime syndicates were associated with a particular region or type of offence, but director of Europol Rob Wainwright said that criminals can no longer be defined by their nationality or specialisation in one area of crime.

"A new breed of organised crime groups is emerging in Europe, capable of operating in multiple countries and criminal sectors," he remarked.

"[They have] an ability to operate on an international basis, with a business-like focus on maximising profit and minimising risk. They are the epitome of our new globalised society."

Of course, the rise of organised cybercrime has led to a significant upturn in the number of IT security jobs becoming available all over the world.

Data is an increasingly valuable commodity and firms need to ensure their IT department is right up to date with the latest tricks and scams being used by cyber criminals. This is easier said than done, as the most dangerous hackers always try to stay one step ahead.

Although this is clearly a global problem, recent studies have shown that a large number of online attacks can be traced back to Africa.

Ambassador Haruna Mohammed - director of communications for the National Security Adviser in Nigeria - said the country had developed an unwanted reputation for being a cyber crime hub.

By Jane Newton

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