The accessibility and availability of electronic communications have greatly increased the potential for crime.
Not only is technology more widely available to potential criminals, but also the potential scale of losses to companies has broadened.
Crime analytics serves a two-fold purpose – to catch more traditional criminals and fraudsters who leave footprints behind them, and to overcome the increasing technological sophistication of criminals. Maintaining a lead in this informational arms race is crucial.
Crime analytics is often thought of with respect to cyber criminals: In July 2013, for example, NASDAQ and J C Penney were among the victims of a long term e-fraud described as the “biggest in US history1”, accomplished via installation of software on corporate computer systems to create electronic “back doors”. This resulted in losses of well over $300 million from just three of the dozens of compromised accounts. In addition, the criminals themselves utilized Google alerts for keywords such as “data breach” and “identity theft” in an attempt to stay ahead of law enforcement if their exploits were reported, using analytical technologies to gain a potential advantage in the same way that earlier criminals might have listened into a police scanner. Against this backdrop of technological misuse, crime analytics is growing in importance and complexity.
However, cyber crime is only a small element of the potential scope of crime analytics. Today, it is being used to combat crimes as diverse as money laundering, bank fraud, international terrorism, drug smuggling, human trafficking, and policing.