Crime has existed since time immemorial, and no form of crime is perhaps more dangerous than organized crime.
The term ‘organized crime’ has several sub-categories, each of which has its motivations based around being a business or a political power. From illegal substance traders to rebel forces, these criminal organizations have risen and fallen throughout human history.
One way to look at it would be to consider that organized crime is a reflection of the current socio-political environment. As such, the mobsters of the 1950s and 1960s were a reaction to the socio-political climate of the time, and the same can be said about modern-day cybercriminals.
So, let’s explore the history of organized crime and how they operate in the current societal environment.
A Brief History Of Organized Crime
Organized crime is perhaps as old as the concept of crime itself.
We have all heard tales about bandit groups that operated in ancient history long before the current image of organized crime was formed. These groups were held together by a single leader, the absence of whom was usually the catalyst that led to their downfall.
Of course, these groups became more and more complex over time, with many utilizing rules to prevent their operation from falling apart. These rules and an operation style that rewarded loyalty are what led to the creation of what we currently define as organized crime. Criminals who became a part of these organized groups needed to be loyal to either the leader or their shared goal to be successful.
It’s also worth noting that the goals shared by various forms of organized crime can be highly varied. Certain organized crime groups, such as the American Mafia, were based around patron-client networks that relied on the concept of a family. Others were dedicated to vigilantism, terrorism, and other ideologies that could bring criminals under a single umbrella.
How Cybercrime Emerged To Be A Dominant Form Of Organized Crime
While cybercrime finds its beginnings in fairly small-scale thefts such as ATM hacking, it has grown exponentially since the late 1980s. And the advent of technological advancements have given rise to an entirely new type of criminal: cybercriminals.
These criminals began by exploiting the vulnerabilities of early computer systems and continued to adapt to countermeasures. Over time, they began partaking in various kinds of cybercrime, such as phishing, downloadable viruses, worms, and more.
Their efforts eventually escalated to the point of using ransomware attacks, where they held a business network hostage through encryption. In exchange for decrypting and releasing the network, these criminals demand a ransom, hence the name.
In the current era, cybercriminals have made several successful high-profile hacking attempts through mutual cooperation. And through illegal means like cryptojacking, they have made away with hundreds of thousands of dollars invested by a crypto wallet owner.
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Managing organized crime has historically been difficult as these criminal groups exploit the weaknesses of an existing system. Whether they exploit a social shortcoming or an economic environment, these crime groups have always attempted to keep their hands on an exposed societal vein.
Of course, it’s also equally true that organized crime has very rarely survived beyond a few decades. The world will always find a way to counter them, and the same can be said for cybercriminals.
Ultimately, it is only a matter of time before the governments of the world find a way to stop large-scale cyber attacks.
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