Alabama Task Force Takes on Global Cybercriminals

Virus searchThe FBI reported that between 2000 and 2014 there were more than 3.17 million complaints filed globally by victims of cybercrime, from identity theft to high-tech data breaches. And unfortunately, that number has definitely gone up dramatically (hello, Ashley Madison). Last year alone, victims lost more than $800 million. That’s why the Alabama Joint Electronics Crimes Task Force (JECTF) was created, to help protect American consumers from the growing threat of cybercrime.

“What we’re seeing in this day and age is that there are very few crimes that are committed without any form of technology,” said Diana Dolliver, academic liaison to the task force. “It could be mobile devices. Anything from recorders to cellphones. We look at computers, external hard drives, XBOX’s and DVR’s.”

The JECTF was created in August 2014 by a grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, and the organization wants to help local, state, and national law enforcement agencies get tough on cybercrime.

In 2013, more malware was created than ever before, amounting to roughly 82,000 malware threats per day. That record number has only grown in the last two years, with hackers creating new malware targeting Android and Mac OSX in particular. Plus, like most above-board companies, malware is going mobile this year as well.

Panda Security is a research firm that tracks malware threats, and their forecast for 2015 states: “Although malware on cell phones was somewhat anecdotal a couple of years ago, more malware samples for Android have appeared in 2014 than all of the malware targeting any mobile device ever. It seems that in 2015 growth will skyrocket, the number of victims also increasing, and therefore it will be essential to use antivirus products for these devices.”

Victims of cyber-crime can range from huge government entities to local Alabama college students. In the summer of 2013, at least 25 local college students had their information hacked by another student looking to steal money using federal and state student loans. Had the students been more aware of cyber-crime, they would not have been such easy prey (they responded to a fake university email asking for personal information). Hopefully, the JECTF can help get the word out, both here in Alabama and nationwide.

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