2021 was a record-breaking year for data breaches. According to Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) research, the total number of data breaches through September 30, 2021 had already exceeded the total number of events in 2020 by 17%, with 1,291 breaches in 2021 compared to 1,108 breaches in 2020. It goes without saying cybercrime is indeed a thing as we move in to 2022. Let’s take a closer look into the advent of cybercrime, its reach, and how it may progress in the future.
The Beginning of Cybercrime: 1950s
The origins of cybercrime can be traced back to the late ’50s when phone phreaking became a rampant problem. This involved hacking network protocols to make regular and long-distance calls free.
Phone companies couldn’t find an effective way of stopping these phreaking attacks. Finally, it faded away by itself in the mid-80s. But ‘phreaks’ had created a community that issued regular newsletters. At one point, it even included Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder.
These hackers set the standards for others who understood that if phone networks were this easy to bypass, computer systems would also be a piece of cake. As more complicated mediums such as wireless phones, laptops, and tablets, became readily available, cybercrime became even more pressing.
An Official Acknowledgment: 1960s
MIT’s student newspaper made the first reference to the concept of malicious hacking. In the mid-60s, digital computers came in the form of huge, expensive mainframes stored in temperature-controlled rooms. Even programmers had limited hands-on access to them.
However, students and others who had access to these computers tried their hand at ‘hacking.’ Initially, they had no malicious, geopolitical, or commercial motivations in doing so—they were just curious. Their only goal was to improve this new technology and find ways to make it work more efficiently.
As computer systems became smaller and large enterprises began investing in data storage and management technologies, it became difficult to keep computers secure -more and more people needed regular access. This was when passwords became mainstream.
Cybercrime Became Federal Crime: 1980s
In 1986, Clifford Stoll, Systems Administrator at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, discovered some irregularities in their accounting data. He invented digital forensic practices that led him to discover that an unauthorized individual had been hacking into their computer network.
He then created the ‘honeypot tactic’ used to lure hackers back to the network until enough relevant data was collected to track the source of the intrusion. Eventually, this led to the arrest of a West German, Markus Hess, and others from the area who were selling stolen military passwords, information, and other essential data to the KGB.
Soon after this, the Morris worm virus was discovered. This ‘worm’ was created by Cornell University student Robert Morris and damaged over 6000 computers, resulting in approximately $98 million worth of damages.
Congress passed the first legislation against hacking in 1986: the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This Act made computer network tampering punishable by monetary fines and jail.
Cybercrime and Security Today
Cybercrime has come a long way. From innocent hacking to sending confidential military information to the KGB to a ‘worm’ damaging nearly 100 million dollars worth of computers, cybercrime has evolved into a highly sophisticated, multi-billion dollar industry.
Cybersecurity Ventures expects global cybercrime costs to grow by 15 percent per year over the next five years, reaching $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025, up from $3 trillion USD in 2015. This represents the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history, risks the incentives for innovation and investment, is exponentially larger than the damage inflicted from natural disasters in a year, and will be more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined.
Steal Now Crack Later
And it’s not always about financial damages today. Steal Now Crack Later has bad actor stealing data today and storing it for decryption at some later date – when they have the necessary computing power to do so (aka – quantum computing power).
In March 2021, in one of the biggest hacks in recent years, bad actors broke into Microsoft Exchange and stole user data – 250,000 servers were impacted in total giving these bad actors access to almost limitless data to be decrypted in the future.
Luckily, companies like Quantropi have the knowledge, expertise, and tools businesses need to defend against Steal Now Crack Later and the next cybercrime wave: quantum threats.
Learn more about Quantropi and their 3 pieces to TrUE quantum-secure cryptographic integrity – Trust (asymmetric), Uncertainty (symmetric), and Entropy (strong random numbers).
Contact us today for more information.