Organized Cybercrime? How Cyberspace May Affect the Structure of Criminal Relationships

The twentieth century marked the era when organized crime, typically equated with the Mafia or La Cosa Nostra, became a widely recognized and widely studied phenomenon. Organized crime in the La Cosa Nostra sense burst into the American awareness in the 1950’s and 1960’s as a result of Senator Estes Kefauver’s inquiries, the McClellan Committee hearings, and the Congressional testimony of Joe Valachi, who was the first Mafia soldier to breach the mob’s code of silence.
The emergence of transnational criminal organizations in the late twentieth century generated concern analogous to that produced by American society’s “discovery” of the mob in the 1960’s. Nations, law enforcement, and others who tracked organized criminal activity began concentrating on transnational organized crime as a new and even more dangerous phenomenon than the emergence of the Mafia. This focus continues today. Since the globalization of crime is a trend that will only accelerate, this concentration on transnational organized crime will persist
The issue to be considered in this article is whether what is true of traditional crime is likely to also be true of cybercrime, which deviates from the traditional model of crime in several ways. Section II of this article examines reasons why organized activity has emerged as an aspect of real-world crime. More precisely, it considers the advantages organization offers for realworld criminals. Section III then considers whether these advantages translate to cybercrime. If they do translate, we can expect to see the emergence of organized cybercriminal activity analogous to that encountered in the real world; that is, we can anticipate the emergence of cybercrime Mafias and cybercrime cartels.