Cybercrime

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A wide range of computer security threats exists—including faulty software, password trafficking and fraud, and hostile groups intending to inflict damage—and awareness of these threats varies. RAND has conducted research to measure and increase understanding of the impact of cybercrime on businesses and governments and has addressed such issues as the pros and cons of counterattack, the value of deterrence and vigilance, and actions that can be taken in the face of cyberattack.

  • Smart car 3D rendering, photo by Production Perig/Adobe Stock

    Research Brief

    When an Autonomous Vehicle Is Hacked, Who Is Liable?

    Jul 12, 2019

    Hacks on autonomous vehicles could lead to deaths, property destruction, ransomware attacks, or data theft. Several scenarios illustrate the policy challenges facing the civil legal system, insurers, and others.

  • Mock Bitcoins are displayed in Berlin, January 7, 2014, photo by Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters

    Report

    Terrorist Use of Cryptocurrencies

    Mar 27, 2019

    Counterterrorism finance strategies have reduced terrorist access to official currencies. Will terrorist groups therefore increase their use of digital cryptocurrencies? New ones have emerged, including some that claim to be more private and secure than Bitcoin, but they also have limitations that make them less viable.

Explore Cybercrime

  • A car dashboard computer

    Commentary

    Learning to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet of Things

    Late last month, Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million cars to fix a defect that allowed hackers to imperil drivers from afar. In essence, what was considered a huge threat was converted into a solved or at least solvable problem.

    Aug 4, 2015

  • Testimony

    Strategies for Defending U.S. Government Networks in Cyberspace: Addendum

    Document submitted on July 31, 2015 as an addendum to testimony presented before the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies on June 24, 2015.

    Aug 3, 2015

  • Identify theft illustration

    Commentary

    U.S. Needs a New Electronic Identity-Protection Strategy to Prevent 'Hybrid Warfare' Attacks

    The U.S. government needs to develop a strategy to protect its citizens that includes a unique identifying number or code and a method for protecting these identity keys in online transactions.

    Jul 6, 2015

  • News Release

    Internet Freedom Software Tools Developed by the United States Do Not Facilitate Cybercrime

    Software tools created by the U.S. State Department to encourage the free flow of information online and on mobile phone networks are not likely to be used by criminals to pursue illegal activities. While some have the potential to be used for illicit purposes, there are numerous alternative technologies that are better suited.

    Jun 30, 2015

  • A smartphone is used to photograph a Red Shirt rally in Bangkok, Thailand

    Report

    Internet Freedom Software Tools Do Not Facilitate Cybercrime

    Software tools created by the U.S. State Department to encourage the free flow of information online and on mobile phone networks are not likely to be used by criminals to pursue illegal activities. While some have the potential to be used for illicit purposes, there are alternative technologies that are better suited.

    Jun 30, 2015

  • Network hub and cable

    Testimony

    Strategies for Defending U.S. Government Networks in Cyberspace

    Hackers, including state and non-state actors, are continuing to find opportunities to penetrate U.S. government networks. Defending these networks will require a systems approach.

    Jun 24, 2015

  • News Release

    Companies Are Making Cybersecurity a Greater Priority, but Hackers Still May Be Gaining

    While worldwide spending on cybersecurity is close to $70 billion a year and growing, many chief information security officers believe that hackers may gain the upper hand in two to five years, requiring a continual cycle of development and implementation of stronger and more innovative defensive measures.

    Jun 10, 2015

  • An information security illustration superimposed over a businesswoman holding a tablet

    Report

    Companies Are Prioritizing Cybersecurity, but Hackers Still May Be Gaining

    While spending on cybersecurity is $70 billion a year and growing, many chief information security officers believe that hackers may gain the upper hand in two to five years, requiring a continual cycle of development and implementation of stronger and more innovative defensive measures.

    Jun 10, 2015

  • Hand touching tablet behind social media diagram and map

    Commentary

    The Clash of Internet Civilizations: Why Neither Side Should Prevail

    The debate over net neutrality pits two opposing philosophies against each other — one pushing for the continued evolution of the Internet as an open information superhighway, the other asserting that the Internet's evolution needs to take more account of the many ways it is and will be used.

    Apr 10, 2015

  • Network diagram with a lock

    Commentary

    The High Cost of Hacks

    The cyber insurance industry can play a critical role in informing corporations about effective security controls, monitoring the use of those controls, and therefore help reduce the probability and magnitude of breaches. But it may be squandering this opportunity.

    Mar 9, 2015

  • Binary code with 'password' in red

    Commentary

    Cyberattacks Are a Nuisance, Not Terrorism

    The United States needs to consider both the risk of further attacks like the Sony breach and also further ill-considered reactions that may arise if the problem of insecurity in cyberspace is shoved into the counterterrorism paradigm.

    Feb 9, 2015

  • People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo

    Commentary

    Decoding the Breach: The Truth About the CENTCOM Hack

    When ISIS hackers hijacked the Twitter account of U.S. Central Command on Jan. 12, they falsely claimed that they had hacked into U.S. military computers. While the incident was embarrassing, it was not concerning in operational military terms. It was, however, damaging to the counterinsurgency against ISIS.

    Feb 3, 2015

  • Service members working in the Global Strategic Warning and Space Surveillance System Center

    Commentary

    Put a Cybercop on the Beat

    What remains vitally needed is legislation that would grant at least one capable government organization the authority to track cyber-intruders and -criminals with the same freedom and speed of maneuver that these adversaries enjoy, while protecting the civil liberties and freedoms that allowed the establishment of the Internet.

    Jan 22, 2015

  • U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015

    Blog

    State of the Union 2015: Clarion Calls on Terrorism, Cyber, Education, and More

    The agenda President Barack Obama outlined in his State of the Union address can perhaps best be characterized as broad, mirroring the range of diverse and emerging issues facing the U.S. in 2015.

    Jan 21, 2015

  • Lily Ablon holding medal received for winning DEF CON 21 challenge at Def Con Cybersecurity conference

    Q&A

    The Good Hacker: Q&A with Lillian Ablon

    Lillian Ablon talks about hacking, winning the DEF CON black badge, women in STEM, and more.

    Jan 16, 2015

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: January-February 2015

    This issue of RAND Review reports on technology literacy in kids, self-driving cars, marijuana legalization, hacking and cybersecurity, monetary compensation for mass tragedies, and recent philanthropic gifts to RAND.

    Jan 12, 2015

  • People pose in front of a display showing the word 'cyber' in binary code, Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 27, 2014

    Commentary

    After a Year of Major Hacks, 2015 Resolutions to Bolster Cyber Security

    With numerous data breaches and emerging software vulnerabilities, 2014 was the year the hack went viral. But realizing a few New Year's resolutions in 2015 could help defenders make strides in protection, tools, and techniques to gain the edge over cyber attackers in years to come.

    Dec 31, 2014

  • A security guard at the entrance of United Artists Theater during the premiere of the film 'The Interview' in Los Angeles, December 11, 2014

    Commentary

    Is the North Korean Regime Out of Control?

    Evidence points to North Korean involvement in the Sony hack. But it's impossible to know if top regime leaders sanctioned the attack or if it was carried out by another part of the government without their knowledge and consent. An unauthorized hack would only add to Kim Jong-un's worry over his regime's instability.

    Dec 23, 2014

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un guides a takeoff and landing drill on a highway airfield in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang, October 19, 2014

    Commentary

    How Should the U.S. Respond to the Sony Hack?

    North Korea is likely testing the United States and its cyber community to see where vulnerabilities may exist. So this is not just an issue of how Sony Pictures responds—this is an issue of how the United States responds.

    Dec 11, 2014

  • Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence has contacted authorities to investigate who stole and posted nude images of her online, part of a reported mass hacking of celebrities' intimate photos

    Commentary

    Hackerazzi: How Naked Celebrities Might Make the Cloud Safer

    Despite data breach after data breach that lays bare the personal information of millions of people, leading to only incremental changes by the hacked company, it seems it only takes a handful of celebrity nude selfies to bring issues like cloud security and multi-factor authentication to the fore causing immediate changes.

    Sep 8, 2014