Research from BAE Systems Detica and London Metropolitan University's John Grieve Centre has found organised crime has entered a new era, with 80 per cent of all cybercrime now stemming from gangs.
The Organised Crime in the Digital Age report concluded that offline and online crime has converged, with criminal rings now viewing online as a fertile ground for exploitation.
The move demonstrates a change in the nature of online criminality, showcasing how cybercrime has evolved from lone operators into one mainly perpetrated by organised digital crime groups.
The paper also challenges the assumption that cybercrime is an area dominated by the young, reporting that nearly half of digital crime group members are over 35 years old, whereas only around 30 per cent are under 25.
"Organised criminal activity has now moved from being an emerging aspect of cybercrime to become a central feature of the digital crime landscape," said Kenny McKenzie, head of law enforcement at BAE Systems Detica.
Many of the groups currently operating are newly created, with 25 per cent of all active cybercrime rings being less than six months old.
The paper highlighted several different types of cyber gang, including: traditional cyber criminals; old-style crime families; street gangs; and extremist groups.
The paper follows on from a number of reports, all showing a marked increase in the threat posed by cyber attacks.
Most recently, PricewaterhouseCoopers warned financial services firms were at greatest risk from hackers.
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