The increasing access to and subsequent use of technology has dramatically impacted the way in which people communicate and conduct their daily lives. The internet for example connects people and companies from opposite sides of the world quickly, easily, and relatively cheaply.
However, the internet and computer can be used in negative ways, which can have destructive impact on societies. Cybercrime is a threat against different organisations and people who computers connected to the internet and particularly mobile technology.
Cybercrime can be defined as a type of crime committed by cybercriminals who use a computer as a tool and the internet as a connection in order to reach a variety of objectives such as fraud, illegal downloading of files such as music and films, and spam mailing which is sending a phony e-mail in order to steal private information or access to a protected website (Cross, 2002:2). Cybercrime is a concern that has been attracting media attention since 1945, when the United Nations created an international cooperation and collective security network of 192 countries to cooperate and solve international problems and one of a growing issue is cybercrime (Portnoy and Goodman, 2009).
This essay aims to classify cybercrime depending on the taget of the crime to two common groups, which are Cyber crime against individuals and Cybercrime against organisations as well as address the particular problems of each group by suggesting possible solutions to each problem separately.
Cyber crime is the latest and perhaps the most complicated problem in the cyber world. “Cyber crime may be said to be those species, of which, genus is the conventional crime, and where either the computer is an object or subject of the conduct constituting crime” (13). “Any criminal activity that uses a computer either as an instrumentality, target or a means for perpetuating further crimes comes within the ambit of cyber crime”(12)
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A generalised definition of cyber crime may be ” unlawful acts wherein the computer is either a tool or target or both”(3) The computer may be used as a tool in the following kinds of activity: financial crimes, sale of illegal articles, pornography, online gambling, intellectual property crime, e-mail spoofing, forgery, cyber defamation, cyber stalking. The computer may however be target for unlawful acts in the following cases- unauthorized access to computers / computer systems / computer networks, theft of information contained in the electronic form, e-mail bombing, data diddling, salami attacks, logic bombs, Trojan attacks, internet time thefts, web jacking, theft of computer system, physically damaging the computer system.
Reasons for cybercrime :
Hart in his work ” The Concept of Law” said that ‘human beings are vulnerable so rule of law is required to protect them’. By applying this to the cyberspace we may say that computers are vulnerable so rule of law is required to protect and safeguard them against cyber crime. The reasons for the vulnerability of computers may be said to be:
1. Capacity to store data in comparatively small space:-
The computer has a unique characteristic of storing data in a very small space. This allows for much easier access or removal of information through either physical or virtual media.
2.Easy to access:-
The problems encountered in guarding a computer system from unauthorised access are that there is every possibility of unauthorised access not due to human error but due to the complex technology. By secretly implanted a logic bomb, key loggers that can steal access codes, advanced voice recorders; retina imagers etc. that can fool biometric systems and bypass firewalls can be utilised to get past many security systems.
The computers work on operating systems and these operating systems in turn are composed of millions of lines of code. The human mind is fallible and it is not possible that there might not be a lapse at any stage. The cyber criminals take advantage of these lacunas and penetrate into the computer system using often more sophisticated means than originally anticipated by the systems engineers.
Negligence is very closely connected with human conduct. It is therefore very probable that while protecting the computer system there might be any negligence, which in turn provides a cyber criminal to gain access and control over the computer system. This negligence is usually a property of under resourced IT security provisions and the improvement of security barriers within software packages and network structures could lead to improved security.
5. Loss of evidence:-
Loss of evidence is a very common & obvious problem as all the data is routinely destroyed. Further collection of data outside the territorial extent also paralyses this system of crime investigation.
Cybercrime against Individuals
A major problem of cybercrime against individual can take place towards different types of people such as cybercrime against children, cybercrime against consumers and cybercrime against normal users. It is clear that cybercrime against children is the most significant issue which should be focused on. One of the main areas of cybercrime is child pornography, which is the documented sexual abuse of children, however this excludes pseudo-photographs or computer generated items such as images, drawing, cartoons and painting (Akdentiz, 2008:4).
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Newville (2001) points out that the internet has authorized to child pornography by offering offenders many ways of swapping information without restraint and giving them a chance of learning and improving skills illegally. Thus, under a high activity by predators of finding open contacts with young victims such as teenagers, a rise in the number of children who use the internet and spread child pornography that cause a serious threat to the safety of children. There are several ways that predators used to meet their young victims in public place and one of the common ways is chartrooms (Medaris and Girouard, 2002)
A Suggested Solution of cybercrime against children
One of the solutions that is often offered is that parents should be responsible for their children’s actions on the internet, however, parents are not able to take this responsibility alone because it is difficult and challenging for them to always stay with their children whilst they are surfing the Internet. Thus, this challenge can be tackled by the close cooperation between parents and governments. In terms of the responsibility parents have over their children within their homes, parents are required to be educated enough to recognize the risk of cybercrimes that their children may face while using the internet . This could be rectified by installing protective software on the PC which restricts access to certain websites containing pre-determined key words, for example “sex”. In addition, they should also advise their children to avoid these risks such as talking to the strangers in cyberspace which can lead to dangerous situations. Parents should not just rely on using various software andmonitor which websites that their children join. They could restrict their children’s access by only allowing giving them access to pre-screen or pre-approved content on the internet and therefore manage to keep their children safe from any sexually orientated content.. Outside the home responsibility can be taken by states, which have a real effect on safety of children. According to Yar (2006) (cited in Creighton, 2003: 3),” Operation Ore 2003 led to 1,600 arrests in the UK of individuals who had subscribed to a US-based child pornography website; the arrests were made possible by cooperation with US law enforcement authorities who provided credit card details of UK residents who had subscribed to the service”.
Cybercrime against organisations
The second problem of cybercrime is one that is extremely threatening to organisations such as business and political websites, to name but a few. It is quite common that cybercriminals are focused on attacking one particular sector which is commercial websites such as shopping websites and banks. According to a 2001 pilot survey, which 198 businesses responded and proved that 74% have been attacked by cybercriminals who used several tools against them such as a computer varies (Rantala, 2004).Cybercrimes against commercial websites can be accrued in several ways, however, in cyberspace there is one common activity between cybercriminals which is piracy such as downloading music, films and games illegally and stealing information or any substances that are private or not made freely accessible. For instance, the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) claims that illegally downloaded music costs per annum about $12.5 billion in economic losses (Bazarsky, 2008). A software piracy which is used by cybercriminals can cause a serious problem in cyberspace, as Cross (2002:39) points out,” the average purse snatcher gets only $20 or $30 per stolen purse, and the average strong-arm robbery (mugging) yields $50 or less. In contrast, pirated software programs often cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Thus, economically, one act of software piracy is several times more “serious” than victimization by a petty thief or robber”.
A Suggested Solution of cybercrime against organisation (commercial website)
Organisations and companies come under cybercrime attacks in every business activity in cyberspace, therefore, some solutions can be suggested that may help to protect business websites. Companies should develop and secure their websites by providing anti-piracy software which could possibly help to reduce the risk of cybercrime and their activities. In addition, businesses ought to hire some people who are sophisticated and experts in computer security to supervise their content and materials which give a secure environment in cyberspace. Moreover, companies should be advised to join some organisation and international cooperation groups in order to eliminate piracy as well as establish an international law in cyberspace, which punishes anyone who commits action of cybercrime.
This essay has gone some way in explaining the concept of cybercrime as well as addressing two important problems of cybercrime, which are cybercrime against individual such as child pornography and cybercrime against organisation such as piracy .Moreover, there are some suggested solutions to each problem that can be met depending on the difficulty of applying and monitoring them. On the other hand, cybercrime is a growing concern throughout the world, thus, research must continue to take place in order to keep cyberspace as safe as possible and protected from the actions committed by cybercriminals. On the other hand it has been proven that it is the responsibility of the individual to protect his/her own Internet connection. It could therefore be suggested that Governments and local authorities including Police and Education Services should work more closely with the Internet Service Providers to protect minors on the Internet. Despite all the developments in the domain of Child Protection Software, young people will always find a way of avoiding a protective firewall. Therefore education would serve an important role in protecting children. Furthermore if the culprits are identified law enforcers could punish and remove the criminals’ access to the nternet. The misuse of computers is a serious issue in the eyes of the law, and under English Law, the Computer Misuse Act (1990) would be central to prosecuting any individual who attempts to use a computer unlawfully.
By addressing their weaknesses, as I have mentioned in this essay both businesses and individuals could strengthen their Internet security thereby stopping these preventable attacks of Cybercrime.
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