Can You Catch Cyber Criminals, or Should You Leave It to Professionals?

Cybercrime situation has never been worse, predicted to reach $8 trillion in global damages this year. Ransomware remains one of the most popular and devastating cybercrimes, followed by Phishing and social engineering.

The situation dramatically worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic, with most employees leaving cyber-secure offices to work from home. Hackers shifted their attention to unsecured home networks reaching business intranets via them. Furthermore, because many people spent more time online during the lockdown, it spiked devious acts like children’s online sex abuse and cyber harassment.

Simultaneously, state-backed cybercrime increases with Russia preparing an illegal invasion of Ukraine, which is ongoing until now. In 2021 Ireland’s healthcare sector was paralyzed by Conti ransomware, postponing crucial healthcare procedures, diagnoses, and visits. The attack was later linked to Russian ransomware gangs operating under partial indemnity.

The rapid downgrade of online safety was met with numerous cybersecurity enterprises dealing with unpredicted chaos. Employees were trained to use a VPN for safe remote workplace access, coupled with commercial password managers designed to protect business and personal accounts from unauthorized access.

Unfortunately, most Internet users do not use additional cyber-protection, fueling the fire. What’s worse, the US cyber enforcement rate barely reaches 1%, meaning that less than one percent of all reported cybercrime incidents end up in conviction. It will take quite some time for law enforcement to hire sufficient cybersecurity specialists. Until then, it’s up to everyone to remain safe online and help others defend themselves against hackers.

Identifying Cybercriminals

There’s a good reason why cybercrime is in such a fragile state. The Internet provides anonymity to hide clandestine practices, and the worldwide computer network allows harassing and exploiting people halfway across the globe or hitting them with credit card fraud to empty their bank account.

Furthermore, hacking software significantly improved during the last decade. Criminals combine a TOR browser with a Virtual Private Network to hop between multiple servers and then launch an attack that can’t be traced to the original IP address. Impersonation over social media is an efficient way of luring unsuspecting users to share their personal details, like a telephone or a credit card number, used later for more damaging cyberattacks.

Because the youngest generation leaps online in one’s salad days, more and more sexual predators appear online. Video game platforms like Roblox attract criminals of the lowest kind that target the most frail population segment that lacks adequate cybersecurity knowledge and social skills to evaluate the threat.

Consequently, there are no common traits you can identify a cybercriminal by. Cybercrime intent varies greatly, and a professional Python developer immersed in illegal software development is not the same as a virtual exhibitionist. To identify a cybercriminal, you must foresee their possible intent to know who you’re against. Here are a few ideas to explore.

Read Also: The Ultimate Guide To The Cyber Security Industry: Definition, Importance, Threats, Measures

How to Expose a Cyber Criminal?

First of all, it’s essential to understand that vigilante action will not solve cybercrime. On the contrary, online criminals persecuted by public opinion often have valid counterarguments in court because law enforcement was involved at a later stage or not involved at all. Personal initiatives to expose a criminal must not overstep lawful boundaries. In other words, the aim is to collect and provide information to the responsible institution.

With that being said, communal responsibility is celebratory. As ironic as it sounds, most cybercriminals get caught when talking too much. There are increasingly more teenage hackers amassing millions of illegally obtained funds, succumbing to the urge to brag about it. Sadly, many people don’t take it seriously or consider it somebody else’s problem – a grievous mistake.

Remember that authorities lack the manpower to scan the virtual for all illegal activities. That’s why the US has established an Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The FBI runs it to assist investigators with outside information regarding cybercrime. It is essential to submit grounded suspicions to IC3. In the best-case scenario, the FBI can immediately start the investigation, although the results may take some time.

Online anonymity buffed up by advanced encryption algorithms requires other surveillance methods, such as browser fingerprinting or impersonation, this time from the FBIs side. In one of the most successful virtual operations, law enforcement established an illegal online marketplace to lure criminal vendors preparing their cases for arrest. The same applies to child groomers that undercover agents contact until they have enough evidence for persecution.

These lengthy procedures take time and can create a false illusion of negligence. In reality, citizen reports of suspicious online activities are highly valuable, and IC3 and, in turn, the FBI rely on them for investigation direction. Once you’re sure a criminal online activity has taken place, it’s best to report it immediately with any evidence there is and refrain from further interference. It can hurt the investigation, and even accomplished white hat hackers most often cooperate with law enforcement instead of going for personal vendetta.

Why Hiring Professionals to Catch Cyber Criminals Makes Sense?

Hiring professionals to catch cyber criminals provides several benefits for both individuals and organizations. These experts bring valuable expertise and experience in dealing with cyber threats, staying ahead of ever-evolving tactics used by cyber criminals. Equipped with advanced tools and technology, they can rapidly respond to incidents, mitigating damage and preventing further harm. Their access to threat intelligence enables proactive measures to strengthen defenses and anticipate potential attacks. Moreover, their legal knowledge ensures proper procedures for evidence gathering, enhancing the chances of successful prosecution. By employing cybersecurity professionals, businesses can protect sensitive data, minimize disruptions, and remain compliant with regulations.

Final Words

To summarize, citizens cooperate with the police to expose cybercriminals. The Story of Jared Fogle is an exemplary case of individual courage and initiative, assisting the law with undeniable evidence of a heinous crime. It’s essential to remember that catching cybercriminals is a task for professionally trained agents, but it could hardly be done without social awareness and responsibility.

Brian Wallace

Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading content marketing agency that makes the world's ideas simple, visual, and influential. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present, joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019-present and became an SMB Advisor for Lexmark in 2023. He is the lead organizer for The Innovate Summit scheduled for May 2024.

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