Washington Post Article Worries That “A Wave of Serious Cybercrime” Is Imminent

February 12, 2014 by David S. Seltzer

As someone recently arrested on a cybercrime charge in Florida, you're probably worried about your future, your defense options, and what will happen to your assets and your career.

The government, meanwhile, is terrified of YOU.

According to a recent Washington Post article, “Target Breach Could Represent Leading Edge of Wave of Serious Cybercrime,” the government believes that many retailers may be at significantly elevated risk of cybercrime. Why? The Washington Post's writers describe the problem: “as hackers become increasingly skilled with breaching the nation’s integrated payment systems … traditional defenses, such as installing antivirus software and monitoring accounts for unusual activity have offered little resistance.”

Experts say that malevolent criminal gangs from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics can now purchase hacking kits online and/or break into servers and wireless networks. In the wake of the Target breach, the FBI says that nearly two-dozen other companies have also been hacked, and an untold number of shoppers have had their personal data and credit card information stolen.

A recent Ponemon Institute study found that cybercrime cost businesses in the United States $11.5 million in 2012. That might not sound like much, in the big scheme of things, but that number was up 26% from 2011 numbers. Authorities worry that successful cyber-heists may motivate copycat crimes. As Carnegie Mellon University’s Nicolas Christin put it: “you are going to see more and more people trying [cyber-heists]… if you saw your neighbor win the lottery, even if you weren’t interested in the lottery before, you may go out and buy a ticket.”

The Post also quoted that Christopher Soghoian of the ACLU, who pinpointed the root of the problem: “our decades-old payment system was not designed with cyber security in mind … times have changed. Data breaches now occur on a weekly basis… [causing] consumers [to] become victims of fraud and identify theft.”

What is it going to take to fix the system?

Authorities believe that safekeeping American data will require a variety of strategies, including:

• Pricy upgrades to software and hardware;
• The use of something called “end-to-end encryption,” which can protect data during the entire course of its throughput;
• The creation and widespread use of better credit card technology that will add data to an embedded chip as opposed to magnetic strips on the backs of cards;
• The use of secure independent networks for highly sensitive data.

On the one hand, these heightened security risks and the vulnerability of business networks are clearly cause for alarm. On the other hand, it is possible that the Federal Government may get too jumpy and aggressive and develop a “witch-hunt like” mentality in going after alleged cyber-criminals. In addition to worrying about the security of America’s data, we also need to worry about the following:

• Could a “prosecution-happy” government unfairly accuse and convict people of cybercrimes?
• Will people convicted of much more serious and aggressive crimes (such as rape, murder, burglary, vehicular homicide, et cetera) get off with more lenient sentences than attempted hackers? Is that fair?
• Will aggressive investigations and draconian legal measures actually protect businesses and consumers? Or will they just make people feel safer (without actually improving safety)?

Battle back against your charges by connecting with an experienced Florida cybercrime defense lawyer with David Seltzer, P.A. Please call us now at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333). Attorney Seltzer focuses intensely on cybercrime defense, and he keeps up to date on the latest developments in the field – legally, culturally, and technologically. He can help you create a sound defense.