These days, digital assets prove more valuable than their tangible counterparts. As a result, thieves are doing most of their damage via laptop or USB port rather than with a picked lock or smashed window. In the wake of several high-profile data breaches and ongoing digital security threats, a number of agencies have stepped up their efforts to curtail such criminal activity.
At the organizational level, managers and IT teams can shore up their defenses by turning to biometric security. This versatile technology provides access control at any point a company chooses – from the front door to the server cabinet. That way, these facilities can guarantee no one is allowed into restricted areas, while also keeping track of where and when a given area is accessed.
"More criminals elect to conduct their shady business in the cyber arena."
Cyberthieves get their start as traditional criminals
According to new information from police in the U.K., crime rates aren't really falling – it's just that the venue has changed. Now, more criminals elect to conduct their shady business in the cyber arena rather than the real world, reported The Telegraph. As it turns out, 6 in 10 cyberthieves have a criminal record completely unrelated to the Internet. Several were even convicted of assault – a far cry from the stereotypical idea of a computer geek.
The report, conducted by the Bedfordshire Police, found cyberattacks are "significantly higher" than many data suggests. It also shows "those traditional offenders are changing their behavior and moving to the Internet," as criminals with little IT experience view cyber crime as a "low-risk, high-reward type of offending."
Government agencies respond to influx of new threats
As the cybercrime arena continues to attract thieves, several agencies have taken measures to match it. Both the FBI and IRS have shored up their cybersecurity divisions to take on both external and internal threats.
The FBI recently created and filled a new role within its Crime, Cyber, Response and Services Branch (CCRSB), according to PYMNTS. The newly appointed Joseph M. Demarest Jr., now associate executive assistant director for the CCRSB, will help the agency keep up with all aspects of cybercrime.
"In his new role, [Demarest] will serve as chief operations officer for CCRSB – providing technical advice and guidance across its components while establishing and nurturing relationships with federal, state, and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies," FBI Director James B. Comey said in a press release.
Meanwhile, the IRS is tackling some of the internal fraud of which it has been recently accused by assigning about a dozen agents to investigate, reported The Wall Street Journal. The team will attempt to limit the tax fraud that has plagued the agency since 2011, as cybercriminals attempt to steal others' tax refunds. Many of these hacks involve identity theft – which grew to represent 25 percent of all IRS criminal investigations in 2014.
Though these efforts are encouraging, organizations must also take it upon themselves to reduce cybercrime. That means installing a biometric access control system, like a fingerprint scanner, at every vital entry point. That will keep unqualified staff from accessing high-security areas and prevent the wrong people from compromising digital assets at a whim.