Cybercrimes, those relating to all illegal activity done on a computer, are far from new. Compared to other forms of crime, however, the ability to prosecute them is still in its infancy. Not only are these crimes often new territory in the legal system, but law enforcement resources to stop cybercriminals are stretched thin.
In the day and age of all things online, thwarting crimes like identity theft and hacking are now at the forefront of various federal agencies. Despite increased efforts, tracking down and prosecuting cybercriminals is as daunting as infiltrating the mob used to be. This is the complicated world of cybercrime prosecution.
Current Jurisdiction and Extradition
As of now, the United States relies on the FBI and Homeland Security Investigation unit to arrest cybercriminals. While charging those within the borders of America is easier, though still challenging, arresting those overseas is incredibly difficult.
Both organizations work with international agencies like Interpol to help get the job done, relying on the extradition treaties the United States has with more than 100 countries. There are times when that works, like this Russian hacker extradited from the Czech Republic, and times when it fails.
Add in another 76 countries who the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with, and the challenge becomes even harder. Neither Russia or China, two countries under the microscope for recent government hacks, hand over cybercriminals.
Instead, the FBI has to wait for a criminal to travel to another country. Lacking jurisdiction and difficulty extraditing makes the prosecuting these criminals a daunting task. However, the federal government continues to crack down when it can.
Understanding Available Resources
The resources available to the FBI and Homeland Security Investigation unit are stretched thin. There simply are not enough agents, employees with the correct cybersecurity skillsets, or funds to crack down on computer crimes in the same manner local and federal agencies can arrest and prosecute other types of criminals.
The lack of available resources causes these agencies to focus their efforts on larger cybercrimes that are easier to prosecute, as well as those that affect people’s lives. Financial fraud, cyber bullying, and sexual computer crimes are often the highest on the list next to large data breaches.
A lack of resources has also caused various false accusations as agents scramble to find someone with the right skills and motive to commit online crimes. This computer crimes defense attorney in Boulder has helped countless individuals prove their innocence after a cybercriminal set them up to take the fall. If you find yourself accused, hire a legal professional immediately.
Looking to the Future
With the immense level of difficulty law enforcement faces, especially considering how stealthy an online criminal can be, it isn’t often that individuals or businesses see justice served. For now, the best protection anyone has against cybercrime is investing in cybersecurity. Strong passwords, a VPN, and malware protection are some of the best ways to secure your online accounts.
In the meantime, law enforcement agencies are working diligently to better understand the world of cybercrime and allocate their limited resources to efforts that will have the most impact on taking as many criminals down as possible. Until then, in it’s in your best interest to protect yourself and your accounts as best you can.