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Cyber Crime On The Rise

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EAST LANSING, MI (WLNS) - Experts in cyber-security met for an international conference at MSU Thursday.

They shared ideas and techniques for protecting consumers identities and their bank accounts.

As 6 News Reporter Joe Khalil reports, with technology rapidly changing the difficulties preventing these types of crimes gets harder every day.

This is the new look of a crime scene. It doesn't come with police tape or fingerprints, but with the swipe of a card.

Cyber thieves can rob consumers, cleaning out whole bank accounts.

"It can affect everyone whether its related to hacking or identity theft," said Thomas Holt, MSU Criminal Justice Professor.

Holt was among experts at the university's first Global Interdisciplinary Conference on fighting cyber crime.

Holt says though its fairly new, cyber hackers run extremely sophisticated operations worldwide.

 "It's not just robbing one person and getting their wallet, it's robbing millions of people and getting all of their wallets," said Holt.

In fact cyber crime has become so lucrative, there's more money in stealing from bank accounts and hacking into card information than there is in the international drug trade.

"The challenge is you don't have to be physically located with your victim," said Kyle Bowman, Commander, Michigan Intelligence.

State Police First Lt. Kyle Bowman says MSP is stepping up its efforts. They've established a cyber command center at police headquarters, focusing on these types of crimes.

They also work with private companies and other law enforcement. 

"We engage with them on a day to day basis to have them pass on suspicious activity reporting," said Bowman. "We're working with our federal partners and local partners to bring prosecution and apprehend those individuals."
"They evolve and we evolve as well. Our job is to stay one step ahead to prevent it."

That's a difficult task Bowman says MSP is ready for.

Organizers say you can take steps to protect yourself by getting to know your anti-virus software. They say most are very user-friendly and easy to install.

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