All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis


Mafia uses Skype and Whatsapp to run cyber rackets

25 Jun 2013
Hacker

Law enforcement agency Europol has detected an alarming increase in the number of cyber scams being run by Italian Mafia groups.

Europol issued the warning in its 2013 Threat Assessment of Italian Organised Crime, confirming that it has seen a marked increase in Mafia groups' use of internet tools and services as both a means to streamline their real-world operations and to mount money-making cyber scams. The agency highlighted criminals' use of free services, such as Skype, as a particular issue.

"Overall the phenomenal growth of the internet has brought positive developments in everyday life. It offers a wide range of opportunities to business and public alike, including facilitating an unprecedented reach to the wider public and providing secure information exchange (including the use of popular encrypted messaging services such as Skype, Viber, Whatsapp)," said the report.

"These opportunities apply equally for organised crime, enabling it to engage in highly profitable quasi-legal or illegal services or activities and any effective strategy to counter organised crime will have to take this key enabler into consideration."

Europol said it has only detected the tip of the cyber iceberg and is yet to ascertain the true level and scale of the Mafia cyber threat, though it is undoubtedly a big one.

"Easy profits, low regulatory scrutiny, and possibilities to operate anonymously are an inevitable attraction to Italian organised crime groups, which – though the nature and scale of the threat is not yet clear – are likely to increase their engagement in this field in the near future," it said.

"Cyber crime in the wider sense is the new frontier, and the Mafias have a pioneering attitude to new markets."

The Italian Mafia is one of many criminal groups entering into the cyber space. Europol reported seeing a similar trend in numerous other European regions in its Serious Organised Crime Threat Assessment report earlier this year.

Despite the rapid increase in cyber crime levels Europol has mounted several successful raids on cyber criminal gangs. Most recently Europol reported taking down an Asian criminal network believed to have stolen around 15,000 credit card numbers.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Alastair Stevenson
About

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

More on Security
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus
Poll

Windows 10 poll

What are your first impressions of Windows 10?
13%
4%
10%
4%
21%
4%
44%

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
V3 Sungard roundtable event - Cloud computing security reliability and scalability discussion

CIOs debate how to overhaul businesses for the digital era

V3 hosts roundtable with Sungard Availability Services

Updating your subscription status Loading
Newsletters

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button
hpv3may

Getting started with virtualisation

Virtualisation can help you reduce costs, improve application availability, and simplify IT
management. However, getting started can be challenging

ibmv3may

Converting big data and analytics insights into results

Successful leaders are infusing analytics throughout their organisations to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimise outcomes

IT Development Manager

This is a unique and senior opportunity to establish...

IT Infrastructure Manager

Closing Date: 13/10/2014 Working within a diverse and...

C# Programmer

We are currently recruiting an experienced C# software...

Do you want to IT Contract or Have You Recently Arrived in the UK?

BITE Consulting could be the answer for you!! The...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.