Piercing the Underground – Cyber Crime a Real Threat by Foreign Entities

Posted in Author, Fiction, Hacking, Mystery, News, cyber crime at 2:31 pm by Sylvia Ramsey

Cyber Crime, Mystery, Fiction

An Underground Jewell - Cyber Crime, Mystery, Fiction

The newly released novel, An Underground Jewell, maybe a fiction espionage novel, but based on current news reports, it may not be on far off base after all.  As cyber crime increases so do the possiblilites that is threating us all.  The following are from current reports from various agencies that show just how big of a threat it is becoming.

Paul Haven, an Associated Press Writer, reported a couple of days ago that: The Pentagon this week said it spent more than $100 million in the last six months responding to damage from cyber attacks and other computer network problems. In addition, the White House is wrapping up a 60-day review of how the government can better use technology to protect everything from the nation’s electrical grid and stock markets to tax data, airline flight systems and nuclear launch codes. In 2008, according to the Department of Homeland Security, there were 5,499 known breaches of U.S. government computers with malicious software that is up from 3,928 the previous year, and just 2,172 in 2006.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), 2008 Annual Report states that complaints of online crime hit a record high in 2008. IC3 received 275,284 complaints, a 33.1% increase over the previous year. The total dollar loss linked to online fraud was $265 million, about $25 million more than in 2007. The average individual loss amounted to $931.

According to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan organization in Washington, serious breaches by what are described as “unknown foreign entities.”  The report added that these have occurred in recent years in computers at the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Commerce, as well as NASA.  Gone are the days when spies of previous years hid microfilm in a hollowed-out pumpkin, or placed classified documents inside a potted plant.

Unfortunately, the ubiquity of computers and the need to spread information electronically leaves us all vulnerable. Joel Brenner, head of the U.S. Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, has warned that skilled cyber attackers can remotely turn on the camera on your home computer, convert your cell phone into a listening device, and even convert the earphones of your iPod into microphones.

Economist and federal government consultant, Scott Borg, has projected that a third of the country without power for three months would cost $700 billion. Comparing the crisis to 40 or 50 hurricanes striking all at once, Borg told the BBC that the threat could produce “greater economic damage than any modern economy ever suffered … It’s greater than the Great Depression. It’s greater than the damage we did with strategic bombing on Germany in World War II.”


David Livingstone, author of a report on cyber threats by the London-based Chatham House think tank, said cyber espionage is a problem in all sectors — businesses, government and individuals.  “Anywhere there is attractive intellectual property and anything that is valuable and useful to someone else will be a target,” he said.



Daniel Berger, in his article, Taking Cyber Warfare Seriously, (emory wheel.com) said, “Internet communication empowers anyone with a laptop with the ability to broadcast to the world. It also empowers anyone knowledgeable enough to control much of what is stored on Internet databases. For all of the billions being thrown around by politicians, our global financial crisis could be aggravated if under-regulation and over-leveraging synergizers emerge with intent to harm.”

Asked what percentage of crimes will be computer-related or computer-assisted 10 years from now, Lt. Amanda Simmons of the South Carolina Computer Crime Center – a well-versed expert on the topic – replied, “As today’s technologically savvy children and teenagers grow older, I believe there is a possibility that nearly every crime will eventually involve some high-tech piece of evidence.”

Lt. Rocky Costa, who heads the Southern California High Technology Task Force and is equally experienced, concurs: “Today computer or computer-related crime makes up perhaps a quarter of all crimes we see – a percentage that is bound to increase.

Take a glimple into a possible future and read, An Underground Jewell to see where current trends could lead. Will the day come when all things are located in a central computer center, and even power grids, etc. are controlled by this center?  Will the day come when all information, including literature, will be stored at this one location?  What are the dangers?   The book is about a foreign organization that has been conspiring to not only infiltrate various government agencies, control the central computer center, but to control society as a whole.