The Rise of the Digital Thugs

Computers crimes get more savvy as 'digital thugs' turn to extortion, attacks on competitors

Companies extorted

To the best of your knowledge, have any cyberextortion threats ever been made against your organization or an employee of your organization?
No -- 70%
Yes -- 17%
Unsure -- 13%

What was the substance of the threat?
1. Theft of customer data 18%
2. Web site defacement 18
3. Denial of service/ quality of service attacks 14
4. Placement of illicit materials 11
5. Destruction of data 7
6. Theft of intellectual property 7
7. Destruction of intellectual property 4
Other: 21

Would you call the cops? If your organization had a credible extortion threat made against it, would law enforcement be called to investigate? Yes -- 50%
Depends -- 48%
No -- 2%

Sources: 2005 C.S.I./F.B.I. Computer Crime and Security Survey; Gregory M. Bednarski (Carnegie Mellon University)

© 2005 The New York Times Company