How to catch cybercriminals

Mar 20, 2014

Cybercrime is the topic of a conference at Michigan State University today.

By one estimate, cybercrime costs the U.S. economy about $100 billion a year in money lost and money spent on beefing up online security.

Tom Holt is the organizer of the MSU cybercrime conference. He says one particular challenge for law enforcement and technicians alike is catching cybercriminals who are becoming more elusive.

“How do we deal with this kind of roving problem? How do we put a hammer to a nail that’s constantly rotating from point to point,” says Holt.

Holt says many hackers and data thieves are operating in Russia or on websites where users communicate in Russian, making it easier to hide from U.S. and European authorities.    

The Wall Street Journal recently reported the massive data breach that hit Target stores may have originated in Russia.

About 40 million credit and debit card accounts were compromised during the 2013 holiday shopping season.

MSU’s Tom Holt says one of the difficulties in fighting the crime is law enforcement and IT professionals are not always speaking the same language when it comes to cybercrime.

“The language that we need in order to have a common parlance for our fields is really important,” says Holt. “It’s one of the things I hope we can find in the course of the conference is a way we can all communicate about the same issues in a relatively clear fashion.”