It sounds almost too futuristic to be true, but according to experts, 2008 saw more internet-based crime than the preceding five years combined
Meeting at Davos in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, a panel of experts, including representatives from Mozilla, McAfee and Microsoft discussed the ways in which internet crime has changed in the last year. According to the panel, internet crime, including fraud and identity theft, are no longer the purview of bedroom-based hackers, but instead of large, well organized criminal gangs; cybercrime has changed from vandalism to 'organized criminality' and that internet theft costs $1 trillion a year.
The panel also expressed concern that the internet was now being used to wage wars, or at least parts of them, citing Russia's denial of service attacks against Georgia as a prime example, an act that had dire consequences for Georgia's infrastructure.
Unfortunately, it would appear that solutions to the threat of cybercrime were not forthcoming, with opinion split over the best way to proceed. Some panelists posited the idea of the creation of a 'World Health Organization' for the internet, while others feared that such a body would have to be almost totalitarian in its control to be effective. Others put forward the idea of fostering the community spirit of the internet, in effect, asking it to police itself.
Regardless of what eventually may or may not happen, it seems that taking extra precautions when shopping online are definitely in order.