Paper - Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Belfer Center

Taking a Byte Out of Cybercrime

| October 2011

Overview

Nations and corporations are embracing and quickly adopting information and communications technologies (ICT) to improve services, increase productivity, and decrease costs. Unfortunately, they have not as rapidly addressed the security measures needed to protect their growing enterprises and technological infrastructure. However, in the last few years a new conversation has emerged regarding cybersecurity, which takes on different meanings as it sits within the twin responsibilities of economic progress and national security. Cybersecurity is a means to enable social stability and promote digital democracy; a method by which to govern the Internet; and a process by which to secure critical infrastructure from cybercrime, cyberespionage, cyberterrorism and cyberwar. As nations and corporations recognize their dependence on ICT, policymakers must find the proper balance in protecting their investments without strangling future growth.

This paper provides a brief overview of the cybercrime problem and examines five case studies to demonstrate that, while national and international law enforcement authorities are working together to address cybercrime, with additional tools they could make even more progress going forward. Today’s efforts are under-resourced and hampered by outdated laws. Nonetheless, by sharing actionable information and applying novel interpretations of the law, authorities around the globe are finding ways to address the cybersecurity problem. The recommendations that follow the case studies seek to build on the successes and lessons learned.

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For Academic Citation: Hathaway, Melissa E,. “Taking a Byte Out of Cybercrime.” Paper, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Belfer Center, October 2011.

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