Yakuza venturing into cybercrime

February 28, 2009

The Yakuza, Japan's crime organization which boasts 84,000 members and is estimated to haul in as much as $21 billion annually, is giving rise to a new generation of gangster more interested in business than blackmail. The floundering economy has eaten into their revenue from traditional activities that require muscle such as gambling, prostitution and loan-sharking, and they are compensating by venturing into financial fraud, stock manipulation and cybercrime.1

Internet security software provider Finjan recently announced that it has just published the 2008 cybercrime figures from Japan which reveals a 15.5 percent year-on-year annual growth. "Anecdotal evidence suggests that the volume and value of cybercrime has soared again in 2008 and, with the current economic recession, we fully expect the number of Internet scams, hacks and malware-driven infections to increase even faster in 2009" says Ben-Itzhak, Finjan Chief Technology Officer.2

Although there is no direct correlation to the Japan figures and that of European and North American markets, Ben-Itzhak says that the significant increase in cybercrime in the Japanese market does not fair well for Western e-crime2

Experts from the FBI stated in December 2008 that Cyber attacks pose the greatest threat to the United States after nuclear war and weapons of mass destruction.3

1. "Feeling the heat ", The Economist, February 26, 2009

2. "Japan Cybercrime Grows by 15.5 Percent", Web Hosting Industry Review, February 27, 2009

3. "Where will Cybercrime take us in 2009?", National Computing Centre, February 28, 2009