Latest fraud and cybercrime statistics

Over three months from April to June 2018 the ONS received 130,519 reports from the public and businesses in England and Wales who said they had been a victim of fraud or cybercrime. However, they note “that there are severe levels of underreporting”.
Extrapolated over 10 years, 8.9% of the population would be a victim, although some people would no doubt be a victim more than once, so somewhat less than 8.9% of people would be a victim that had not been a victim before. This is a slight increase on the figure obtained from the six months from April to September 2016 and explicitly includes businesses as victims this time.
They also note that people more likely to fall victim to fraud or cyber offences than any other crime.
These calculations used the Office for National Statistics estimate for the mid-2017 population of England & Wales of 58,744,595.

Historical fraud and cybercrime statistics

Action Fraud reported 259,292 cases of fraud and cybercrime were recorded by the 43 police forces in England and Wales for the six months from April to September 2016.
That equated to 0.44% of the population in that six months. Extrapolated over 10 years, 8.8% of the population would be a victim, although some people would no doubt be a victim more than once, so somewhat less than 8.8% of people would be a victim that had not been a victim before.
Of those cases of fraud and cybercrime recorded, 12.2% were considered to have viable lines of enquiry but only 1.1% ended in judicial outcomes – some of which would be acquittal. This is not a strong disincentive, so the chances are that fraud and cybercrime will increase.
The top three kinds of frauds were: 107,515 card & online payment fraud; 47,576 credit application fraud; 21,985 fraud against telecom providers.
These calculations used the Office for National Statistics estimate for the mid-2016 population of England & Wales of 58,381,200.

Key Wi-Fi security protocol is vulnerable to attack

All technology depends on technology that has gone before it.

Sometimes the former technology needs to be revisited, to check it is still fit for contemporary purposes.

Such is the case with the WPA2 security protocol, used to encrypt Wi-Fi traffic.

It seems that it has a vulnerability that can be exploited by the ‘KRACK’ attack to decrypt traffic, and in some cases even inject malware into the traffic.

Because the vulnerability is in a protocol that is part of the Wi-Fi specification, it can affect every device that uses Wi-Fi.

Fortunately, this vulnerability was found by researchers, so Wi-Fi equipment makers were made aware of it before it was made public.

Some have already provided fixes for the vulnerability, and some soon will.

However, some equipment will inevitably not get updated, even if the fix exists, so they will be an attack target for years to come.

More detail:

https://www.krackattacks.com/?utm_source=Ubiquiti+Newsletter+Subscribers&utm_campaign=b822866b42-UBNT%3A+WPA2+patch%2C+10-16-17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1c1b02cb37-b822866b42-207883025&goal=0_1c1b02cb37-b822866b42-207883025

Are technological advances plateauing?

The background

Deepening specialisations, along with standardisation, have enabled increasingly sophisticated systems to be created.

People need and want things that require more sophisticated systems.

More sophistication entails more complexity.

Problems

  1. Self-evidently, one person’s ability to create increasingly complex but reliable systems, has a limit
  2. The more people engaged in an endeavour, the less productive they become at delivering it, until it becomes unaffordable, or progress halts

Problem 1: This cannot easily be much affected, because most people have a broadly similar ability.

Problem 2: Techniques exist to mitigate this, such as using a lower cost workforce, dividing systems into loosely coupled less complex subsystems, and changing work practices to more specialised roles with narrower tool sets. However, none of them actually prevent the declining productivity as teams grow.

Evidence

A recent article in The Register points to a recently published paper, which claims “… that research effort is rising substantially while research productivity is declining sharply.”

Possible reactions

  1. Accept this plateaux in technological advances for fields that have been highly developed
  2. Grow user bases to support the extra R&D staff required, although this reduces choice and competition
  3. Reduce the dependency on human effort of developing sophistication, using for example AI techniques

802.11ad clients

Qualcomm have announced the Asus ZenFone 4 Pro will be the world’s first commercial smartphone to have 802.11ad. Asus also mention the 802.11ad capability.

There have been a few 802.11ad capable ‘prosumer routers’ available for a while, by Asus Netgear and TP-Link, so their makers must be pleased that finally users might seek them out based on that capability.

The high speed of 802.11ad makes it spectrum and time efficient, because to move an amount of data the radio can be off more of the time than a slower radio. Firstly, this means it will not occupy the spectrum (a finite resource) as much of the time. Secondly, it could potentially consume less power – always a good thing, especially for battery powered devices like smartphones.

Perhaps more interestingly, 802.11ad has an inherently short range. For a wireless personal area network (WPAN) this is a good thing. Obviously a WPAN only needs a short range, and if signals travel further than required they again reduce spectrum efficiency, because they occupy spectrum in areas where other WPANs could use it.

Wi-Fi Aware

The ability for Wi-Fi enabled devices to automatically discover each other and understand each other’s public Wi-Fi offerings is a powerful enabler for point to point Wi-Fi connectivity. Standards based ad hoc point to point Wi-Fi connections are currently quite a manual arrangement and so have seen little usage. Attempts to initiate such connections using Bluetooth and NFC have lowered the hurdle, but pre-emptively discovered potential connections via Wi-Fi Aware will make it much easier.
As is very often the case the full potential of technology is unlocked by widely or ideally universal standards, so Wi-Fi Aware promises to create new possibilities.

Mobile network operators using unlicensed spectrum

Obviously MNOs using unlicensed spectrum disadvantages others operating in that spectrum. The freedom to setup wireless networks for distinct needs without the burden of licenses for its use is an important right that has and will continue to enable innovation and advances in wireless technology. If allowed, MNOs could easily subvert that resource.
The existence of the IEEE 802.19 Wireless Coexistence Working Group to addresses coexistence between wireless standards of unlicensed devices, and in particular its Coexistence in Unlicensed Bands Study Group, is late but welcome. Perhaps equipment working in the unlicensed spectrum will ultimately be required to conform to a coexistence protocol that can be mandated by the ETSI et al. Although and extra burden on those developing for unlicensed frequencies it would ultimately be a benefit as we move to higher utilisation.

Ofcom and 5G mobile services

From 16 January 2015 to 27 February 2015, Ofcom (regulator of spectrum in the UK) is asking “for stakeholder input on spectrum bands above 6 GHz that might be suitable for future mobile communication services.”
This is being broadly termed ‘5G mobile services’.
Although no standards yet exist and the technology is certainly inchoate, wireless technology develops quickly, so it is good to see Ofcom getting involved at this time.

Also on 12 March 2015 Ofcom is hosting a “debate to explore the impact of new mobile and wireless broadband technologies, including those underpinning 5G, on spectrum regulation and management.”