Plot twists in the fight against cybercrime

With 43% of businesses identifying breaches in cyber security in the 12 months to April 2018 (rising to 73% for large companies), cybercrime remains a significant issue

In the past the perception was that, once an instance of cybercrime had taken place and the funds or data had disappeared down the rabbit hole into the void of the cyber world, victims needed to “keep calm and carry on”. There was little point in pursuing a recovery so the way forward included claiming on cyberinsurance (if a policy was held) and implementing procedures to prevent future attacks.

Text messages, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have all been used as means of sharing information

However, the tide appears to be turning in the fight to bring successful claims in instances of cybercrime. The Courts are adapting to counteract the inherent difficulties of claims against “Person(s) Unknown”, as demonstrated through decisions made in a number of cases so far this year and the decision to construct a cybercrime court.

We are yet to be involved in a matter involving Person(s) Unknown but the inherent issues caused by our own and our clients’ reliance on technology means that these complications are not foreign to us.

Whilst we have been keeping aware of developments in this area the following cases peaked our interest:

$10 million traced via WFO

CMOC Sales & Marketing Limited obtained a worldwide freezing order (WFO), the first of its kind, over the assets of “persons unknown” and traced $10 million which had been stolen through online fraud to the original perpetrators (some 30 individuals/companies).

fight aganst cybercrime

Aside from the headline developments surrounding the use of a WFO, the serving of documents was aided by the use of modern communication methods, including online data rooms, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Injunction brought via SMS

There are a multitude of difficulties to overcome in cases where the defendant is unknown, not least the fact that the claimant doesn’t actually know who the defendant is or how to contact them to issue a claim.

In the case of LJY v Person(s) Unknown, LJY brought a claim for blackmail after receiving texts from an unidentified phone number. Documents were served via a series of text messages to the ‘burner phone’. While the injunction appears to have prevented the release of details of the alleged criminal conduct of LJY, the identity of the blackmailer remains unknown.

With continuing investment in and reliance on online services, we will no doubt continue to see further developments as the Court continues to adapt in the fight against cybercrime.

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Article taken from our Winter edition. You can download our latest Forensis Commercial newsletter from our latest publications page

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