The Mafia, also known as the Cosa Nostra, is a notorious criminal organization that originated in Sicily and has since spread throughout the world. It is involved in a wide variety of illegal activities, including extortion, money laundering, drug trafficking, and murder. The Mafia operates through a system of hierarchy and codes of conduct, with members sworn to absolute loyalty and secrecy. Its influence and power have been the subject of numerous books, movies, and TV shows, and it remains a significant force in organized crime today, although law enforcement has made strides in recent years to dismantle its operations.