Cybercrime is still on the rise and specialist hacking skills and cyber attacks are being paid for via untraceable payments through online gambling sites, according to a research paper released today by security firm McAfee.
According to McAfee’s Jackpot! Money Laundering Through Online Gambling whitepaper, online casino operators are fuelling the increase in cybercrime by making it easy to cash in on crimes.
Online gambling involves huge volumes of transactions and cash flows that can obscure and disguise money laundering, the report says.
Illegal proceeds can be made virtually untraceable by wagering them on one end of a transaction and receiving the payouts as gambling wins on the other end. Gambling wins can also be exchanged as payment for illegal goods or services changing hands elsewhere.
There are three critical areas where online gambling platforms enable money laundering for criminals:
- Anonymity Because online gaming was from its inception designed to operate across jurisdictions, in a commercial trade illegal in many jurisdictions, operators are fairly explicit about the level of anonymity afforded to online players.
- Payment Options The popularity of online gambling has driven the development of a value chain enabling a wide variety of gaming operators, featuring various account deposit and withdrawal methods, and middleman entities processing the transactions.
- Too Many to Police The sheer number of online casinos is so great that it is difficult for local authorities to monitor let alone police their activities.
The company told iTWire that, given the growing and ever-changing landscape of online gambling players and enablers, those working to apprehend cybercriminals must be able to leverage cross-sector/border and public-private partnerships, combining the capabilities of law enforcement, ISPs, Internet security companies, independent monitoring organisations, academia, and the financial institutions ultimately in receipt of suspicious fund transfers.
McAfee said it supports the strategy taken by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre which takes a tactical approach to tackle cybercrime on a number of fronts:
- Data fusion: The gathering and processing of information on cybercrime, and maintaining technical expertise for law enforcement in all member states
- Operations: Providing member states with the technical, analytical, and forensic expertise required to conduct cybercrime investigations
- Local/Global partnerships: Facilitating law enforcement cooperation with partners within and outside the member community, and coordinating complex transnational cases in close collaboration with organisations such as Interpol, Eurojust (EU agency for judicial cooperation), European Union Cybercrime Taskforce, and European Cybercrime Training and Education Group
- Strategy: Producing threat assessments, including trend analyses and forecasts as well as new developments on cybercriminal activity and functional processes
- Training and awareness: Collaborating closely with organisations such as police academies to develop training activities and generally raise cybercrime awareness among trainees, as well as informing and building capacity among law enforcement officials, judges, and prosecutors
- Research and development: Developing forensic tools to enable member states to more effectively detect and prosecute cybercriminals
To read the whitepaper for yourself check it out here.