Katsogiannis: Cyber Crime is “under-reported…and it’s not being investigated enough”

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Cybercrime is the fastest growing crime type across the world and is constantly developing in conjunction with new technology.

The Greek Herald sat down with former Police Commander Arthur Katsogiannis, former Commander of the Fraud and Cyber Crime Squad at the NSW Police Force, to discuss the future of cybercrime in society and how people can best prepare to protect themselves for it.

What is Cyber Crime?

In Australia, the term ‘Cyber Crime’ is used to describe both:

– Crimes directed at computers or other information communications technologies (ICTs) (such as computer intrusions and denial of service attacks), and

– Crimes where computers or ICTs are an integral part of an offence (such as online fraud)

It is the NSW Police’s job to investigate complex cyber offences that require advanced technical skills and capability. The NSW Police also individually processes all reports received through the Reportcyber portal and the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).

Growth of Cybercrime

Prior to becoming commander of the Cyber Crime and Fraud squad, Katsogiannis dealt with cybercrime first-hand during his time as commander of the gangs squad. When investigating the gangs, the NSW Police discovered that outlaw motorcycle gangs were recruiting university graduates who had great experience with IT.

“They set up marketplaces on the dark-net to sell firearms and drugs, which could provide them with the anonymity to not get picked up by law enforcement and be able to make money, using virtual currencies available such as bitcoin, and then putting them in wallets overseas or in bank accounts where police couldn’t get them.”

After varying results following this criminal investigation into the gangs the NSW Police have moved their attention to prevent cybercrime in society by being the first State police force in Australia to establish a standalone Cybercrime Squad, a task which Katsogiannis was given prior to retiring.

Despite a reported decrease in crime by the Bureau of Crime and Statistics Department, stating that all major crime types have come down in the last 20 years, Katsogiannis believes that this is due to the criminal landscape shifting to online, and it is the responsibility of the NSW and Federal Police working in consultation with both the private and public sector to prevent and combat it.

“It’s under-reported, in many instances not detected and it’s not being investigated enough.”

Other crime types that have been growing at an exponential rate online include domestic violence, child abuse pornography and pedophaelia, which presents big challenges for law enforcement, along with society in general.

One of the biggest rising crime types in his time as commander was phone porting, which involved criminals getting access to people’s personal details and phone numbers and porting their phone to another provider, gaining access to the persons information without the person being aware of it.

Katsogiannis believes that as phones become more essential for day to day living, it will also increase the risk of fraud, in particular identity theft, as it will contain all of people’s credit cards and personal details.

“They [phones] aren’t foolproof to hack into or get access to, which will create other issues down the track.”

Katsogiannis believes that whilst technology is a great asset, it also poses a great deal of challenges for law enforcement, as the Police Force is currently playing catch up with hackers.

“We still have a long way to go because the hackers are far away in front of us, and this field needs to be properly resourced and funded.”

“We can get that by targeting graduates who are gaining that expertise at university, and we need to train them up with our methodologies, and that’s going to be one of the challenges for law enforcement and also for society to be able to deal with this crime type.”

Prevention of Cybercrime and Online Safety

The internet provides people with many opportunities for knowledge and education, however Arthur Katsogiannis believes people need to be careful of how much information they put out there, as many of the criminals today traul the internet, particularly social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram.

Katsogiannis says that criminals main focus is to gain as much information as possible about people so they can try to decipher their passwords and get access to their personal information, which he reports is worth massive amounts of money. “This is the world we live in but it’s not about making people panic or alarmed, but it’s about making people aware. As I try and make my family aware and other people that I talk to, because everything you put online stays online, and you can’t wipe it off no matter what you do.”

The future of Cyber Crime

Katsogiannis believes that the crime platform is constantly shifting and at the moment, organised crime has now shifted to online. He believes that the future of cybercrime is evidently expanding, and people must be prepared as new technology arises.

“I think technology will determine the type of crime that will come in the future, in fact I believe it’s already here.”

Katsogiannis appeared on Sunrise for an interview regarding cyber safety and the presence of online scams, to which the video received 186,0000 views, which was twice as many views as a post detailing all the information about the recently introduced lockout laws at the time.

“I asked my young smart analyst, ‘Why do you think that is?’ and he said this affects people and their hip pockets its interesting and it helps them prevent it from happening to them.“

Katsogiannis reports that this proves that people are engaged and interested in the growing nature of Cyber Crime and it must be reported on more prominently in the future. Education and awareness are pertinent for prevention.

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