Cybersecurity Book Review. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Two Decades Of Cybercrime Summed Up In A New Book

An investigator’s perspective on cybercrime

Steven T. Kroll

Northport, N.Y. – Mar. 14, 2019

“The next two decades will be different from any reality we have lived in the last one hundred years. Cybercrime will be different as well,” according to Wanderson Castilho, author of the new book, 100 Critical Facts About the World’s Cybercrime.

A recent report from Cybersecurity Ventures confirms this last point. Cyberattacks are the fastest growing crime globally, and they are increasing in size, sophistication and cost.

Drawing on his more than 20 years of experience investigating cybercrime, Castilho presents an insider’s look to the threats that we face daily. He founded E-Net Security in 1999, a company that has resolved over 3,500 cases for cybercrime victims.

He attributes his success at cybercrime investigations to a two-step process. “I first put myself in the shoes of those who have been affected. Thus, I can identify the vulnerabilities of that person and find a way to resolve the case by trying to reproduce the criminal’s thoughts.”

The book is structured in a clear format that covers three areas: threats against individuals, threats against businesses and governments, and ways to prevent and protect against cybercrime.

I found the history of cybercrime section — 100 significant events of the past 20 years — very interesting. For instance, the Chaos Computer Club hacked into Quicken financial services during a television program in order to expose the potential for bad actors. This was in 1997, and cybercrime has exploded since then.   

It’s no secret that cybercriminal activity targets financial information from personal users. Stolen credit and debit card information have brought significant gains to cybercriminals. For example, the theft of 160 million payment cards caused a loss of $300 million. Six hackers in Eastern Europe, all in their 20s and 30s, committed the crime.

“Digital crime, especially financial crime, is like an ever-changing virus,” Castilho writes. Once a cure is found for a certain disease, it has already changed and a new vaccine is needed.

Moving toward the personal side of cybercrime — the threats against individuals — Castilho explains how criminals use the internet as a bridge for real world crime through an example in which he secured the civil and criminal conviction of one perpetrator who spread his ex-girlfriend’s intimate photos to over 15,000 email addresses. 

Castilho holds nothing back when he says that “one of the most important things a company can do is to invest in cybersecurity.” Indeed, Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that a business falls victim to a ransomware attack every 14 seconds.

Simply put, every company is digital nowadays, as Castilho notes, so employers need to educate their workers and employ best practices when it comes to cybersecurity. 

Security is a primary concern for Castilho as the cloud increases and the IoT grows. Every connected device is a potential attack point for criminals, and Castilho’s book shows that security must improve in lockstep with this technology in order to stay ahead of criminals.

The book ends with tips for ensuring personal security online:

  • Keep an eye on the links in emails. Don’t just click on anything.
  • Keep your devices protected such as using antiviruses on computers and mobile phones, and always keep the system updated.
  • Do not connect to any open network.
  • Use elaborate passwords and change them periodically.

How much different is cybercrime from street crime? Castilho answers the question. “The crimes themselves are not necessarily new — robbery, fraud, illegal gambling, selling counterfeit drugs — but they evolve and become sophisticated according to the opportunities presented online, thus becoming more widespread and harmful.”

If you want 100 reasons to protect yourselves, then buy the book here.

Steven T. Kroll is a public relations specialist and staff writer at Cybercrime Magazine.