Written by Daniel Geifman
Previous posts on this blog have discussed several cases and scenarios of cyber-attacks perpetrated by hactivists with the potential to become terrorists, Anonymous affiliates, LulzSec or other individuals taking advantage of the lack of preparedness (or understanding) of state ministries, banks and industries personnel. This post will discuss the cyber-crime arena and more specifically, the threat of the web in drug trafficking and human trafficking. There is no doubt that these attacks represent a genuine menace – according to a recent report issued by Symantec, an estimated $113 billion is stolen from costumers around the world annually.
But let’s not forget that cyber-crimes can be divided into several different areas, from phishing or DDoS to more serious activities such as identity, debit and credit card number theft. In my point of view, this is not a strategic issue. These attacks, although important, have no point of comparison and social consequences compared with the use of the web for drug-and people-trafficking, as well as other painful issues, such as pedophilia. In my opinion, these are more relevant and strategic issues, which can bring any country and society to her knees.
In recent years, we have noted a tendency to place the cyber-crime topic in the spotlight, owing to mass media coverage or simply because is a new, sexy and not-very-well comprehended topic. But ordinary civilians are not the only ones to see the potential and the advantages of using the web to make their lives easier. Drug cartels in Latin America have also recognized the advantages of social networks and deep web, to save precious logistic time avoiding dangerous meetings with other dealers, sending messages and mostly, recruiting new members and attracting victims to their nets. These cartels have evolved into more than just drug producers and traffickers – they have become mafias, controlling not only the drug trafficking from Afghanistan, Colombia and Mexico to the United States and Europe, but they have also created a corruption, prostitution, kidnapping and gambling net, estimated to produce $320 billion in revenues every year, from drug trafficking alone.
Crimes ranging from phishing attacks through drug trafficking must all be fought; there is no doubt about that. But first we should define as a society what we expect in the future. At the end of the day, web or deep web is the same thing, just another communication device, not the problem itself. By fighting defacements with better anti-virus software or technicians we are not fighting a strategic battle, we are just patching up the real menace that lurks beneath.