n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Organised crime and the 'new more sophisticated' criminals within the cybercrime environment : how 'organised' are they in the traditional sense?

Volume 29 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Are the 'new, more sophisticated' cybercriminals merely an extension of traditional organised crime groupings (i.e. the Mafia) that some observers state have 'taken over' and 'control' the internet as an extension of their structured syndicate/gang criminal activities? Alternately is cybercrime not a new form of organised crime in that the perpetrators have merely become 'more' organised as an online network or group of criminals that co-operate in the illegal underground black market by 'selling' stolen information, hiring out 'crime-ware' and even providing technical backup services for the purposes of online crime. There is no doubt that online criminals within the cybercrime environment have become more sophisticated in making use of malicious software (so-called 'malware') in their attacks in cyberspace for the primary motive of personal financial gain. Cybercriminals have developed and utilised 'stronger' malware that has evolved and changed into providing more stealthy and hidden malware, such as 'malvertisement', 'iFrame script injection' and 'ransomware', all of which have become more difficult to detect and therefore to combat. Of particular concern to cybersecurity specialists is the addition of encryption to this updated malicious software now being used in cyberattacks on unsuspecting internet users and the specific targeting of cyber-vulnerable organisations that have either neglected or are unable to afford to update their cybersecurity protection measures. In more recent times malware cyberattacks have also targeted users of mobile devices. Overall it concludes that cybercriminals have become a well-planned, organised and global online criminal enterprise whose operations are highly lucrative and profitable but essentially low risk.

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