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The Need for Improved Cybercrime Investigations: Why We Wrote This Book

Posted on: June 19, 2020

By Antonia Merzon and John Bandler
Antonia Merzon, Esq., Boulder, CO, [email protected]
John Bandler, Esq., CAMS, Bandler Law Firm PLLC and Bandler Group LLC, New York, NY, [email protected]

Cybercrime – the malicious byproduct of the Information Age – remains an unchecked scourge for individuals and organizations everywhere. We wrote this book to encourage people in every sector to engage in more and better cybercrime investigations. Cybercrime Investigations: A Comprehensive Resource for Everyone brings together all of our knowledge, experience and research to help anyone become an effective cybercrime investigator. Written from a practical and readable perspective, the book covers how cybercrime works, as well as the steps, laws, and technical concepts that support a successful investigation. Cybercrime is a problem that is not going away, and even the best cybersecurity will not eliminate it. Clearly, we need more good investigators. Crimes that are not investigated will never be solved.

Further, expanding laws and regulations across the country now require regular and improved investigative action to detect and respond to cybercrime. As a result, multi-faceted cybercrime investigations are conducted by many types of professionals from all sectors. Executives, policy makers, and law makers also need to understand the broad implications of cybercrime and its aftermath to create and comply with these regulations.

In a sense, the story of the book begins in 2005, when we started working together investigating and prosecuting cybercrime and identity theft cases while at the New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney’s Office under Robert Morgenthau. Antonia was the new supervisor of a specialized unit focusing on these crimes, and John had just begun prosecuting felony cases. Out of this collaboration grew an innovative investigation – the Western Express case – that spanned the world, lasted nearly a decade, and exposed the dark chasms of cybercrime, identity theft, and virtual currency money laundering. We ultimately prosecuted and extradited defendants from across the country and around the globe, and the case culminated in a four-month trial. We use the Western Express case throughout the book to illustrate important points, tell our story, and engage the reader.

Even though many years have passed since we started investigating the Western Express case, the world is still sadly behind in its response to cybercrime. The volume and types of crime are growing, but the level of response is still painfully inadequate. We felt we could use our experience to inspire and teach more people to take on these crimes. Cybercrime can be stopped when people are willing to try.

If the Western Express investigation was a daunting odyssey, this book was a comparable challenge. Our process was thorough, like a good investigation. We organized and reorganized it until it captured the essential knowledge a cybercrime investigator needs in a useful, modular form. Chapters, sections, and sentences were written and rewritten until we felt they met our fundamental goals of being helpful and understandable. Material that could not fit or was not up to par was cut. Only then were chapters provided to our band of experts, who proposed still further revisions. And then came the team at Taylor and Francis who improved it even more.

The result is impressive – if we do say so ourselves. If you are seeking to learn for yourself, or if you wish to train your employees or teach your students, this is the book. You can visit the book’s page here and find our website dedicated to the book, cybercrimeinvestigationsbook.com, to see a list of the book chapters.

The book takes a holistic approach for a diverse audience – from student to teacher, law enforcement to private sector, entry level to executive. The topic ranges include:

  • Understanding cybercrime, computers, forensics, and cybersecurity
  • Law for the cybercrime investigator, including cybercrime offenses; cyber evidence-gathering; criminal, private and regulatory law, and nation-state implications
  • Cybercrime investigation from three key perspectives: law enforcement, private sector, and regulatory
  • Financial investigation
  • Identification of cybercriminals and attribution of cyber-conduct
  • Apprehension
  • Litigation in the criminal and civil arenas.

This is a book that can be read straight through, and is also a valuable reference for the many points before, during, or after an investigation. For professors, teachers, and instructors, there is sufficient material to guide several courses, and footnotes provide additional resources.

With each new reader, we hope to get closer to the place where cybercrime will be consistently answered by a diligent investigation. We offer this book so that readers will gain knowledge, build skills, and eventually produce cybercrime cases large and small that will reduce the endless barrage of cybercrimes and hold cybercrime offenders accountable for their conduct.

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