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Women in Tech: “At best, technology can bring people together”

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research study by The National Center for Women & Information Technology showed that “gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings,” which could explain why tech companies have started to invest in initiatives that aim to boost the number of female applicants, recruit them in a more effective way, retain them for longer, and give them the opportunity to advance. But is it enough?

Two years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Angelica Hill, Associate Product Manager at The New York Times.

Today’s Woman in Tech: Angelica Hill, Associate Product Manager at The New York Times

Angelica is an Associate Product Manager at The New York Times in New York City, overseeing the backend platform infrastructure of NYT newsletters, emails, and push notifications. She has a Masters from the Journalism School at Columbia University, as well as a BA in Drama and English from Queen Mary’s University, London. Before that, Angelica graduated from the Acting Foundation Course of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

When not working in Go, organizing GDN (Google Developer Network Events), or other events in the Go community, Angelica encourages others to dive into software engineering – no matter their background, or where they are in their professional journey. She is a fierce advocate of diversity at work.

When did you become interested in technology?

I grew up in a diplomatic family, moving between different Embassies every few years. My childhood was spread across three continents, including years at boarding school. Technology meant that this was a very different experience than it might have been for previous generations – e-mail, social media and then Skype shrinking distances and eliminating any sense of dislocation or distance. Tech meant that I always felt supported.

We’ve seen over the last year during covid, the degree to which technology has transformed communication and relationships. At best, technology can bring people together, spread knowledge and really improve lives. Distance becomes irrelevant. For all the talk of fake news and cyber attacks, we should never forget just how much of a positive tech represents.

As I grew up, my ambitions changed. I wanted to be an actor, then a journalist. I spent time interning at the BBC, The Times, and Al Arabiya News Station in Dubai. Finally, after an amazing summer internship at the New York Times, my ambitions switched to Product Management and Technical Product Management but within the media. I do still draw upon all the lessons and skills I learnt at acting and journalism schools.

It did take me a while to really immerse myself in the technical side. It is intimidating to outsiders, even ones with not a little self-confidence. I was fascinated by the work of the Software Engineers at the NYTimes, but it wasn’t until the start of 2019 that I enrolled in a 3 month, twice a week, after work class for non-developers at the Product School. I wanted to better understand the technical debates that were taking place around me between the engineers I was working alongside. I also wanted to gain a greater degree of credibility with my tech partners.

Long story short – I began a journey of exploration and was increasingly caught in the gravitational force of a whole new world. With the help of many mentors, I gained the enthusiasm of the converted and was especially taken with the simplicity, the elegance, of the Go programming language. By the end of 2020, I was delivering a keynote speech at GopherCon 2020, hosting global GDN (Google Developer Network) events, and joining the ‘Go Time’ Podcast team as a permanent panelist. I love it – but I am also quite clear that it makes me much better at my day job. I can engage my programming team in a way that would be impossible without a proper understanding of their challenges and capabilities.

We live in an age of digitalization and innovation. Understanding and leveraging emerging technologies is key to playing a full part in today’s business world, arguably in today’s world more broadly. It is too important to leave to the data scientists and programmers. We all need to engage. We all have the opportunity to ride this wave, and see where it takes us. If I understand technology better, the result will eventually be a better experience for the NYTimes readers.

Understanding and leveraging emerging technologies is key to playing a full part in today’s business world, arguably in today’s world more broadly.

How did you end up in your career path?

As mentioned above I have pivoted a lot in my career ambitions. it’s been far from a linear progression, although each twist and turn has left me better equipped for the next challenge. My guiding principles and values have however remained constant:

  • Is this something that has the potential to make a positive impact in the world?
  • Is this the working culture and industry I want to be in?
  • Do I see myself continuing to be excited by, and challenged by this career in the long run?
  • Can I be the best in this field?

I loved the creativity and the emotional challenges of acting. At best, theatre can help audiences see the world in a new light and empathise with quite different perspectives. Theatre is a supremely collaborative art. But the realities of being a working actor involve a lot of time alone, a lot of instability, and to be honest – a lot of rejection. It taught me self-confidence to go onto a stage but, more importantly, it taught me resilience.

So when I studied English Literature and Drama at Queen Mary’s University, London, I found myself drawn increasingly to media, ending up as the editor of the University magazine. I found that I both loved and had an aptitude not only for writing but for managing a team.

Journalism was a professional that ticked all the boxes in terms of intellectual stimulation and impact. I had no doubt of its import, particularly as the pernicious influence of fake news and social media manipulation became increasingly clear. I was lucky enough to be accepted on the Masters in Journalism course at Columbia University – widely considered to be the best graduate journalism school in the world.

That coincided with my being accepted onto the NYT summer internship program in 2016, which – without exaggeration – changed my life. I loved the NYT – the culture, the buzz, the people, the mission. It ticked all my boxes. I joined the business side during the internship and was lucky to be brought under the wing of one of the most inspiring female role models I’ve ever met. I was sold on Product management and digital innovation. I know that this was where I could add the most value and really fulfill my full potential. Product Managers are challenged by different and ever-changing products, working in a space that is constantly progressing and innovating. You can never know everything, and will always need to learn.

I am only three years into my working life. I know that the world evolves so quickly that it would be madness to say that there will be no further career shifts. But, for the foreseeable future, Product Management seems sure to provide the challenges and opportunities I want and need. I have already seen a shift in my focus since joining the Times, from user facing products, working extremely close to journalists in the newsroom, to working on more technical products, back-end platforms, working extremely closely to software engineers, diving deeper into the technology.

Did you receive support from your family and friends? Do you have a role model?

Three people have shaped my professional life, all encouraging me to follow my passions, work hard, and never give up. All three have a passion for what they do, are open to learn, and are willing to admit mistakes.

Erin Grau was my intern supervisor at The New York Times in 2016. She was the Head of Digital Operations. She opened my eyes to the possibility of Product Management being a path for me, and coached me into my current job at The New York Times. She is a fierce advocate for diversity and equality in the company; and an astonishingly good mentor, especially for women (who can sometimes lack the natural self-confidence to assert their views in male-dominated workplaces). She taught me not to second guess myself and to not let impostor syndrome ever get in the way. She also showed me that being a powerhouse at work doesn’t mean you can’t be a mother and have a happy, healthy family life. It’s hard, but it can be done.

My current line manager joined The New York Times from Amazon nearly a year ago as a Senior Technical Product Manager. He taught me a different set of skills and ways to be effective at work while still demonstrating empathy and support for the team. He helped demystify the nuances of cross-team and stakeholder communication and management. He treats me with respect as a peer – I am excited to see what I learn from him in the years to come.

I know that it’s a cliché, but my father has probably had the greatest impact as a role model. When I turned 18, he gave me three pieces of advice that I still try to live by:

  1. Things are never as bad, or as good as they first appear. There will be ups and downs – but the peaks and troughs always even out. Just think very carefully about anything that could be irreversible. A single decision can sometimes change the direction of your life forever – good or bad.
  2. Be yourself. Sounds trite but it’s not always easy. Conformity can take all sorts of forms. You need to be ambitious and never settle.
  3. Try to do the right thing. This is the most difficult. You won’t always manage this one. But do your best to do what you know is the right thing, even if it’s not to your advantage. You will like yourself more and it’s what differentiates the special people. Be kind.

Did someone ever try to stop you from learning and advancing in your professional life?

I have been very lucky to have been surrounded by supportive friends and family. I’ve always had people around me to help me overcome the inevitable hurdles that life puts in our path. But we all face differing opinions and perspectives.

When, still early in my career at the NYT, I first started taking classes outside work and upskilling on the technical side (as a liberal arts graduate with very little foundational knowledge), one of the senior Product managers warned me not to invest too much time in learning the technology, the software engineering side. They noted that I was a Product Manager and not an Engineer. Technical conversations with the team were not critical to my job. I was confused and harboured doubts – I was enjoying learning and was convinced that this new facet to my professional armoury was improving my working relationship with my engineering team. It felt like the right approach but I respected the senior (and successful) product manager too much to dismiss their guidance outright.

But, with the support of others around me, I persevered. That led to many wonderful opportunities, learnings and growth, as well as making me better at my job. They may not have been wrong for their own career, but the context changes – technology is central to everything we now do and a deeper, less superficial, understanding translates to better business decisions.

If we don’t see ourselves reflected in those we see as successful in the industry it’s a huge deterrent.

A day in Angelica’s life

I am currently an Associate Product Manager on the Mercury Messaging team at The New York Times. We are a team made up of back-end developers working on maintaining and improving our messaging platforms for transactional and editorial email, as well as push notifications. Our mission being to empower our internal users to personalize and innovate their messaging, get a holistic insight into what messages our readers are getting. Building the necessary infrastructure in our push and email channels to deliver the right message, to the right consumer, at the right time. I’ve been at The New York Times for nearly three years, and have worked in the email and messaging space for the majority of my time at the company.

There is not really a typical day, it can differ wildly depending on the time of year – are we coming up to, within, or just finishing planning – as well as what projects I am overseeing at that time – a new feature being built out, architectural change, or data migration. High level, my day to day is meetings, both with my fellow team leads, the whole team, as well as with external teams and out teams stakeholders. A lot of my job is communicating, listening, and understanding the needs of our internal users, and our New York Times users, so as to map out how to address the problems in the most efficient and effective manner.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Working at the New York Times. It is the most outstanding news organisation in the world at a time when reliable probing news is as important as it has ever been. I feel privileged to be part of it, not least for the voice it expressed during the Trump Presidency years when news was so often under assault. I am excited by the digital journey we have travelled over the last years, as online news has overtaken hard copy, and to be part of the next chapter. I really cannot imagine working anywhere else.

I guess I’m also proud of making a success of living in New York, far from my family and friends. Again, I now can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Why aren’t there more women in tech?

Imposter syndrome is a huge factor in this. Women being told for so long that technology is not the industry for them. The fact that typically women will not apply to or accept a job they don’t think they are already qualified and ready for, whereas men will say yes, and be far more comfortable learning on the job. I also think it comes down to the stereotypes that the tech industry elevated for so long of the young, hoodie wearing man, hood up typing away on his laptop, large headphones in.

If we don’t see ourselves reflected in those we see as successful in the industry it’s a huge deterrent.

Could you name a few challenges (or obstacles) women in tech face?

The first thing I’d like to say is that I believe it’s getting better, and at The New York Times there are a good number of wonderful women in tech roles, however not enough – as is the case at many companies – at the highest levels (although we did just get a female CEO so there is hope).

The other thing that I have found, even at my young age, is the pressure I see some new mothers feeling as they leave the workplace for maternity leave, and then come back and try to juggle both being a mother and a full-time employee. I acknowledge that this is a struggle all new parents, male or female go through, however, I see it being especially hard on the mothers.

Less of a challenge and more of an annoyance, as a woman in tech people still “mansplain” a lot of things to you, especially if – like me – you walk into a room of hoodie-wearing male engineers in a pink blouse and heels as a Product Manager. It’s got much better but I often find myself in meetings where male colleagues will be explaining a technical concept and then turn to me directly – often as the only women in the room – and explain what they mean in “simple terms” to ensure I understand. It comes from a good place, making sure I understand everything, however it does make me wonder why it is always me they turn to clarify.

Would our world be different if more women worked in STEM?

Yes, without a doubt. I believe we would have a more empathetic industry, with a higher level of effective interpersonal communication. I also believe that it would add a level of intellectual diversity to problem solving, opening the industries eyes to a wider range of perspectives, and therefore use cases, and ways to address the issues. As with the diversification of any industry I have no doubt it would have nothing but positive social, economic, and cultural implications.

The discussion about diversity is gaining momentum. How long will it take to see results from the current debate?

The Tech Industry still has a long way to go. There needs to be a new layer of transparency as to what the issues are, as well as crowdsourcing the answers together, and following through with Action Items.

Until companies begin being open and acknowledging the issue we will be unable to make substantial, meaningful progress.

What advice (and tips) would you give to women who want a tech career?

Get over the imposter syndrome. Be honest with those giving you opportunities about your skill level and what you believe you can bring to the table, and then dive in 110%.

Keep learning, but not just from those in your specific field. Learn from everyone working in related disciplines: whether it’s design, engineering, marketing or project. And don’t forget to listen to the journalists and editors — they are at the heart of what we do.

For even more Women in Tech, click here

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“World’s Biggest Blockchain Deployment”: Ethiopian Government To Use Cardano’s Technology To Revamp Its Education System

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“World’s Biggest Blockchain Deployment”: Ethiopian Government To Use Cardano’s Technology To Revamp Its Education System

Cardano developer IOHK has announced a strategic partnership with the Ethiopian government to use Cardano-based technology to revolutionize the nation’s education system.

Cardano’s Identity System To Be Rolled Out To 5 Million Ethiopian Students 

Based on the Atala PRISM framework, the identity solution will be deployed throughout Ethiopia in what will be the “world’s biggest blockchain deployment”. In particular, it will be used to create forgery-resistant records of academic performance across 3,500 schools and verify the grades of more than five million local students. The system will also create records of 750,000 teachers, allowing monitoring and lesson planning.

This means that the Cardano-based identity system will make it easier to authenticate university applications and check the validity of the students’ grades without depending on third-party agencies. Increasing transparency in the schools’ grading system may create more employment opportunities for rural Ethiopians and increase social advancement.

IOHK added in the announcement:

“This partnership is at the heart of Ethiopia’s Digital Transformation Strategy. IOHK has long recognized how developing world countries could uniquely benefit from blockchain, and this deployment is key in our vision for Africa.”

IOHK’s Grand Vision For Africa

IOHK touts Cardano’s Atala PRISM as a game-changer for the world’s second-most populous continent, Africa. Besides education, IOHK CEO and Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson has previously revealed plans to work with the Ethiopian government to overhaul other sectors, including transport, healthcare, and agriculture.

Hoskinson has also talked about creating a Cardano hub in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa which will cater to other African nations like Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Suffice to say, the latest development is a dream come true for the Cardano community. It will not only open up Africa to progressive blockchain technology via Cardano but also help to bring Cardano mainstream. Meanwhile, the CEO believes these new deals and initiatives with African nations will bring millions of users into the Cardano ecosystem in 2021.

This content was originally published here.

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Bob van Dijk of Prosus on the Future of Technology – The New York Times

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Bob van Dijk of Prosus on the Future of Technology - The New York Times

He’s not necessarily fighting the new wave of regulation, and offered a historical analogy: “When the first cars were in the world, there were no rules whatsoever. When there were more cars, that was not fine.” Advances in technology will naturally require the law to catch up, he said, calling the trend toward stricter regulation “a sensible move.”

What could hurt Prosus, Mr. van Dijk said, are changes to the gig economy, particularly efforts to entitle delivery drivers to worker benefits. Some drivers prefer the flexibility of being contractors, he said, and “we try to pay people properly regardless of what the legislation is.” As far as he could recall, Prosus has never lobbied against classifying workers as employees, as rivals like Uber have.

Another area to watch is China, which has moved to rein in some of its homegrown internet behemoths. Though officials have focused largely on Alibaba, Tencent hasn’t escaped their gaze: The company, which Prosus bought into back in 2001, was among those fined last month for violating antitrust rules. It is Prosus’ single biggest investment, and a tougher crackdown could batter the conglomerate’s market value.

Despite the stakes, Mr. van Dijk downplayed the threat. “Our impression is that China is still very supportive of its tech giants,” he said.

The enormous financial rescue plans enacted by many governments to combat the pandemic unleashed a torrent of money into the global monetary system. Much of that money made its way into the tech sector.

“Market valuations for technology have become quite full,” Mr. van Dijk said. “There’s a lot of money looking for a return.”

Last summer, Prosus was outbid for eBay’s classifieds business, which went to Adevinta of Norway for $9.2 billion. That defeat followed a losing effort to acquire the restaurant delivery company Just Eat, which Takeaway.com bought for $7.8 billion.

Perhaps surprisingly, Mr. van Dijk said Prosus hadn’t encountered much competition from special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, which have raised nearly $100 billion this year and are very active acquirers of tech companies. This may be in part because SPACs are largely a U.S. phenomenon, although other countries have been trying to court the blank-check firms.

Mr. van Dijk said Prosus might eventually find itself competing with SPACs, particularly for later-stage private companies. In the meantime, Prosus itself invested $500 million in a SPAC last year when the shell company merged with Skillsoft, an education technology firm.

Lately, Prosus has mostly been investing in its existing businesses. “Putting money into there is still a good idea,” Mr. van Dijk said. And a few months ago the company announced that it would buy back $5 billion of its shares.

Things are looking slightly more measured these days, Mr. van Dijk said, with valuations coming down “to much more sustainable levels.” For a serial dealmaker, that means opportunity: “It’s easier to do acquisitions in a market that is cooling off.”

This content was originally published here.

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New technology has enabled cyber-crime on an industrial scale | The Economist

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NOBODY LIKES a call from the taxman. Donald Rumsfeld, who as America’s defence secretary oversaw a budget bigger than the economy of a typical country, nonetheless finds the rules so confusing that he writes to the Internal Revenue Service each year complaining that he has “no idea” whether he has filed his taxes correctly. So it is hardly surprising that, when the phone rings and an official-sounding voice says you have underpaid your taxes and will be connected to an adviser to pay the balance, ordinary folk tremble.

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It is, however, invariably a scam. Few tax authorities call individuals about their taxes. If you are lucky, they will send you a letter a year later, to the wrong address. They will certainly not menace you, as bogus calls often do, with the threat of arrest if you do not stump up the cash right now.

Such scams have become vastly more common. Phone calls from tricksters claiming to be taxmen almost doubled in number last year, according to UK Finance, a trade association of banks. Other countries show increases at least as dramatic.

Even as rates of most crimes remain low in rich countries, the spectacular growth of cyber-crime—crime committed mostly or entirely by digital means—stands out. According to the Crime Survey of England and Wales, the best indicator of long-term trends in Britain, in 2019 there were 3.8m incidents of fraud, mostly online, representing a third of all crimes committed. That figure has increased every year since 2017 when the government started collecting data. Around 7% of all adults were victims. Three-quarters lost money, and 15% lost more than £1,000 ($1,390). In America the number of reported cases of internet fraud increased by 69% last year. Reported losses there (excluding bank or credit-card fraud) reached $4.2bn, three times higher than in 2017.

Other kinds of internet-enabled crime are growing too. Computer-enabled spam phone calls and text messages, typically trying to defraud people, extract billions of dollars a year. Illegal gambling websites, many of which steal from their customers, have multiplied. And new technology makes many old-fashioned crimes easier to perpetrate. Drug-dealers use Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, to take payments and move money around. They rely on specialised criminal encrypted-communications software to organise their affairs. “There is no serious organised crime that does not have a digital component,” says Nigel Leary of Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA).

Most significant over the past year is the growth in “ransomware”—hacking attacks where victims’ files are locked up until money is paid. Such attacks were once crude. Ransomware arrived in spam emails and targeted ordinary people’s computers. The sums demanded were often small, to encourage people to pay up.

These days hackers focus on large organisations and demand big ransoms (see chart). Malicious software is injected into specific computer systems. It steals data before locking them. A ransom is then demanded to unlock the files or, increasingly, to prevent them from being leaked (backups of important data are common now). It is almost always in Bitcoin. Chainalysis, a cyber-security firm, says the amount paid in Bitcoin ransoms increased by 311% last year compared with 2019, to around $350m. Victims are usually businesses but more and more include governments and their departments, including the police. On April 27th Washington DC’s coppers revealed that they had been hit by hackers, who say they will expose police informants to gangs if the authorities do not pay up.

Ransomware is “the single biggest threat” in the organised-crime world, says Alan Woodward, a computer scientist at the University of Sussex who advises Europol, the EU’s police agency. On April 29th Alejandro Mayorkas, America’s secretary of homeland security, described it as “a threat to national security”. The damage is enormous. Maersk, a global shipping company, wrote down $300m in losses related to a ransomware attack in 2017. Travelex, a British currency trader, collapsed last year, with the loss of 1,300 jobs. An attack that took its systems down at the end of 2019 was partly to blame. Despite coughing up 285 Bitcoin—then worth around $2.3m—the firm lost about £25m that quarter. It attributed most of that to the attack.

Ransoms can be eye-watering: an attack in March on the Broward County school system, which includes Fort Lauderdale in Florida, came with a demand for $40m in Bitcoin. In messages leaked by the hackers, one of the district’s negotiators was incredulous: “You cannot possibly think we have anything close to this.”

Most government bodies do not. But the consequences of not paying can be just as costly. In Baltimore County, in Maryland, schools had to stop online teaching last year for several days after their systems were locked by a ransomware attack. In 2019 an attack on the neighbouring City of Baltimore cost its taxpayers $18m. During the pandemic, hospitals have been hit, too. France reported 27 attacks on hospitals last year, as part of a 255% increase in ransomware attacks generally. Medical treatments have been delayed in Germany and America because of attacks.

Bitcoin buccaneers

The criminals who do it are a mixed bunch. Many seem to be based in Russia, other parts of eastern Europe, or China. In Russia and Belarus, cyber-criminals thrive because the state tolerates them, as long as they scam only foreigners. Some reportedly have links to the security services.

But cyber-criminals do not seem to operate in tightly organised crime groups, like drug cartels or mafias. Their strength comes from their decentralisation. Individual elements of each crime are provided as a service to organisers. One lot may write and sell the software. Others may get it into targets’ computers. Others may collect and launder the ransom. And a few kingpins may finance the entire operation. And yet they may never know each other’s names or locations.

Crimes such as bank robbery used to be artisanal, says the NCA’s Mr Leary. Big jobs like the Brink’s-Mat robbery of 1983, when gold, diamonds and cash worth £26m (£100m in today’s money) were stolen from a warehouse at Heathrow airport in London, required a large specialist staff who all knew and trusted one another. These days large-scale crime is being industrialised by technology. “The barriers to entry are really very low,” says Mr Leary.

That is largely because an entire internet infrastructure has developed to facilitate attacks. Cryptocurrency is key. Ransomware criminals like to use Bitcoin, says Kemba Walden, a lawyer with Microsoft’s digital-crimes unit because it is very liquid and relatively anonymous. The end recipient is anonymous unless his real-world identity can be connected to his virtual address. Criminals can trade Bitcoin between themselves. Cashing out their earnings into real money is risky; in most rich countries Bitcoin exchanges apply strict “know your customer” requirements. But it is not impossible. Some exchanges in less-regulated countries apply looser criteria. And coins can be “tumbled”—swapped between cryptocurrencies by money-launderers—to conceal their origins, and then sold on well-regulated exchanges. In Russia and China “it’s just incredibly difficult” to trace stolen money, says Ms Walden.

Other technological innovations are vital, too. SIMboxes, which allow people to “spoof” (conceal the origin of) phone calls, are sold for legitimate purposes, to marketing firms, for example. But they also allow criminals to spam people or communicate without revealing their location. TOR, softwarewhich anonymises internet connections by bouncing data around the world, lets the “dark web” thrive, hosting the forums on which criminals anonymously trade their wares. “Bulletproof hosting”—server farms with a high level of security and privacy—operate like virtual safe houses, where compromising data can be moved off at a moment’s notice, invariably before the police are able to get to it.

What is the future of such crime? As ransomware has grown, so has the industry promising to protect firms from it. The crime is “becoming more high-profile”, says Michael Levi of Cardiff University, because of attacks such as the one on Maersk. Organisations are trying to buttress their defences. But many do not want to report hacking attempts or fraud. Data breaches are not only damaging in themselves; they are embarrassing, too. Individuals rarely think to report cyber-crimes to the police. The costs may be borne indirectly. Banks and insurers will often compensate people for losses. Security is improving but the crimes are increasingly profitable.

The police fret that more traditional criminals are moving into cyber-crime, and vice versa. “Now the dark web is used for the commodity trade [fencing of stolen goods], the drugs trade and firearms,” says Mr Leary. In raids in Belgium in March police seized 28 tonnes of cocaine, as well as cash, guns, police uniforms and a torture chamber in a shipping container. The criminals had reportedly been using Sky ECC, an encrypted phone network sold by a Canadian firm. The phones were seemingly designed to hide criminal activity, with end-to-end encryption, disappearing messages and no GPS data. Subscriptions were paid in Bitcoin. That gave them a great deal of anonymity—at least until European police forces managed to inject their own malware into the phones to spy on them.

Governments are starting to take cyber-crime more seriously. America’s Justice Department has appointed a team to tackle ransomware. The “five eyes” allies—America, Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand—are sharing intelligence on it. But there is a long way to go. In Britain only one in 200 police officers focuses on fraud, despite its outsized footprint, according to figures revealed through the Freedom of Information Act by the Times newspaper.

And the opportunities are growing. In the past six months the value of the world’s Bitcoin has soared to over $1trn. That surge of liquidity makes it even easier to hide crime. And as Mr Woodward puts it: “Why would you walk into a bank with a sawn-off shotgun to steal £30,000 when, if you’ve got some money to invest, you can go on the dark web and start a ransomware campaign and make millions?”

A version of this article was published online on May 3rd, 2021

This article appeared in the International section of the print edition under the headline “Spam, scam, scam, scam”

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