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By Bruce Sussman
Fri | Jul 20, 2018 | 8:15 AM PDT

It's almost impossible to attend a cybersecurity conference without being reminded that hackers and their crimes are evolving.

New evidence of this comes from the 2018 National Strategic Assessment, an annual crime report put out by the UK's National Crime Agency.

Check out these trends from the report.

5 ways cybercrime is changing

  1. More first-time offenders
    "Recent notable investigations of serious criminal trading on the dark web highlighted that the traders concerned had little or no previous recorded criminal history, whilst many young people involved in—or on the cusp of involvement in—cyber dependent crime in the UK are also unlikely to have been involved previously in other crime."
  2. Easy to spot phishing is going away
    "Criminals have addressed some of the previous weaknesses in their social engineering campaigns—we can no longer rely on criminals making the types of basic mistakes—such as poor grammar or spelling in cover documents—that were previously a pointer to a social engineering attack."
  3. More cyber vigilantes are emerging
    "There has been a reported increase in proactive civilian activity against online offenders which is expected to continue next year. This has been characterised by ‘Paedophile-Hunter Groups’ (PHGs), where civilians posing as children online attempt to deceive groomers into a meeting and then confront them."
  4. Fighting cybercrime is getting harder
    "The combination of encryption and anonymisation pose substantial challenges to law enforcement’s collection of intelligence and evidence. The impact of anonymisation techniques is as significant as encryption: any available data that is not attributable to a user can limit law enforcement capability. This is likely to be exacerbated as criminals increasingly adopt anonymisation technology (e.g. ToR, VPNs, ‘spoofing’ and services with weak registration). 
  5. Cybercrime linked to prison time
    "An emerging threat in prison is cyber-enabled offending. Cyber-enabled crimes are not recorded as such and so it is difficult to gauge the levels of cyber capability in prison. It is assessed that the cyber capability of criminals will continue to increase in line with that of the general population. There is a risk that cyber offenders, who tend to be younger than the average prisoner, may be exploited by serious and organised criminals in prison who may recruit them to further their own criminal activities."

Now that's a scary thought, isn't it? The traditional criminals networking with cybercriminals in jail.

You can see the 2018 National Crime Agency report for yourself.

Reading it may inspire you to collaborate with peers who are also fighting against bad actors. Here's our 2018 cybersecurity conference calendar.

That's how we collectively secure things—one organization and one region at a time.