Date: Jul 15, 2019
Category: Definition Essay
What is Cybercrime?

The term “cybercrime” firstly emerged in the American literature in the early 60s of the previous century. This kind of crime is a violation of someone’s rights and interests. Cybercrime is a crime where a computer is a tool or method of crime against a person, tangible property, intellectual property, public safety, or morality. According to UN statements, the negative profit of cybercrime can be compared with the money received from the illegal drug or weapon trade. Unlike traditional forms of crime, cybercrime is a relatively new phenomenon that emerged with the advent of the Internet. The nature of the World Wide Web is a quite favorable environment for crime commitment. Firstly, the Internet helps criminals to commit crimes on a global scale. Secondly, law enforcement officers often cannot identify those responsible for cybercrime due to anonymity.

Cybercrime is an illegal computer-mediated activity which can be conducted through the World Wide Web. The Internet makes it much easier for criminals to conduct their affairs across the globe. With time cyber-attacks become more regular, complex and sophisticated. In most cases, they are detected only after the commission. Cybercriminals attack both organizations and individuals by means of computer contaminant. The current monitoring systems and anti-virus programs do not provide the required level of protection since they quickly become obsolete.

Nowadays, the infrastructure of every country is closely related to modern computer technology. The Internet contains a number of hazards, such as the invasion of privacy, fraud, viral shedding, password hacking, credit card theft and illegal distribution of the information. A long list of e-crimes speaks for the urgent need for cybercrime investigation and presenting the measures of combating the virtual form of crime.

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Cybercrime manifests itself in two forms: cyber theft and cybervandalism. Cyber theft is a crime committed in virtual reality. Persons who commit cyber crimes are called hackers. They often break into someone’s computers without authorization. Cyber thieves can steal data stored on the computer from anywhere on the globe. Only computer equipment and the speed of the Internet limit the quantity of private information that can be stolen. Credit card fraud is a vivid example of cyber theft. Hackers use sophisticated software to collect credit card number, username, password and other financial identification people provide when shopping online. The obtained information is used by cyber thieves to purchase goods and services or it is sold to other cybercriminals. Furthermore, the computer network also creates opportunities for employees to commit cyber theft. For instance, employees of an accounting department can transfer money among accounts with less risk than in transactions evidenced by paperwork.

Cybervandalism is the malicious cyber-attacks, aimed at destroying and disrupting computer technology. Some hackers are motivated not only by profit but also by malice. These cyber criminals cause destructions in order to achieve a malicious intent. Others, desire to demonstrate their technical superiority and forcefulness. In addition, there also those who are only interested in spying on other people’s private life. Viruses, Trojan horses and web defacement are the most prominent examples of cyber vandalism. A computer virus destroys programs and makes them perform the task for which it was devised. The virus is spread through emails, a network, or a disk from one computer to another. The Trojan horse resembles a benign application. However, it contains the illicit codes that damage systems operations. For the purpose of irony, some hackers pass off Trojan horse as an antivirus program. Web defacement is currently a widespread form of cyber vandalism. Cyber-criminals can alter Web page by inserting codes that expose visitors to provocative or misleading information.

There are many reasons why cybercrime is considered to be a significant challenge to traditional law enforcement authorities. A most common problem is the lack of an efficient control mechanism. The decentralized structure of the Internet and the absence of national borders in cyberspace resulted in the spread of cyber-crime. In recent years, modern technologies develop at a faster pace. As a result, the existing control mechanisms are not able to respond to new challenges. Automation attacks, the vulnerability of personal information in networks, the viruses of a new generation such as Stuxnet are problems that the traditional law enforcement cannot easily combat.

Digital information may be transferred to any part of the world within a few seconds. Virtual data transmission usually involves several countries, since information is broken up into parts and is sent through the most convenient and accessible channels. Cyber-criminal, the victim, the server with the necessary information can be located in different countries. This factor complicates crime detection. Furthermore, modern automation systems increase the risk of multiple crimes. It allows criminals to accumulate more financial profit by stealing small amounts from thousands of users without additional time and costs. In order to solve a crime, law enforcement authorities from different countries should collaborate. In other words, the building of cooperation is a challenge since it may take a long time what significantly delays the process of crime detection.

Digital information may be transferred to any part of the world within a few seconds. Virtual data transmission usually involves several countries, since information is broken up into parts and is sent through the most convenient and accessible channels. Cyber-criminal, the victim, the server with the necessary information can be located in different countries. This factor complicates crime detection. Furthermore, modern automation systems increase the risk of multiple crimes. It allows criminals to accumulate more financial profit by stealing small amounts from thousands of users without additional time and costs. In order to solve a crime, law enforcement authorities from different countries should collaborate. In other words, the building of cooperation is a challenge since it may take a long time what significantly delays the process of crime detection.

The anonymity on the Internet, the vulnerability of wireless access and the use of proxy servers seriously hinder crime detection. Hackers can use various servers in order to conceal traces of a crime. For instance, cybercrime can be committed through public access points, such as Internet cafes. Modern technologies also enable cybercriminals to hack into someone else’s wireless network. Therefore, there are enough means to impede the cybercrime investigation.

Virtual reality presents many challenges for criminology and law enforcement. New discipline named cyber criminology has been introduced in response to the emergence of computer-related crimes. Lots of countries have developed their own measures of criminal punishment. As a result, criminal legislation in this field is very diverse and contradictory. The lack of uniformity in the criminal legislation at the international level significantly inhibits the struggle against e-crime.

Development of a common cybersecurity strategy is a relevant issue in modern times. Any country can protect itself by taking measures only at the national level. Thus, the complex countermeasures at the international level can help the traditional law enforcement agencies address the challenges in the field of cybercrime:

  • building an international anti-e-crime collaboration;
  • adjustment of the criminal legislation on computer-related crime at the international level;
  • timely updates of measures, methods, and means of cybercrime detection and prevention.

Thus, international cooperation is a crucial point in the procedure of a legal vacuum elimination for the purpose of cybercrime control. Adoption of the international norms and standards should also be accompanied by amendments to the national legislation since some inconsistencies in the policy allow cybercriminals to avoid legal responsibility.

Identity theft is a common form of cybercrime that local enforcement authorities cannot adequately address. Identity theft is the use of another individual’s personal information for mercenary purposes. Cyber thieves may be motivated not only by financial means. In general, there are six categories of possible motives: anonymity, employment, goods, money, revenge, services. For instance, the identity thief can evade law enforcement by using a new identity. Americans are considered to be the first who discovered the phenomenon of identity theft. Nowadays, it is a global criminal problem in the world.

There is a variety of ways that cyber thieves can steal an identity. First of all, thieves must obtain personal information on the victim. It can be gathered through stealing mail, records, hacking. “Phishing” is one of the identity theft methods that involves sending e-mails to a person in an attempt to disclose private information. The e-mails contain a link that redirects users to the fraudulent Web site and asks to provide personal information.

Another way thieves steal information is by voice phishing. “Vishing” involves the use of modern technology Voice over Internet Protocol in pursuance of a fraudulent purpose. Hackers send recorded telephone messages to victims and ask them to call the company back. People call at the fraudulent phone number and punched in personal data on the telephone pad. Afterward, defrauders convert the key tones back into the numerical format and obtain identity information. Cyber thieves often collect information on social networking sites. This way of identity theft is called “spear phishing.” The hackers act on behalf of friends and ask questions that may result in private information disclosure. Unfortunately, many people do not find out soon enough that they have been victimized.

 

According to the professionals in the field of identity theft, some steps can help to protect a person’s identity are:

  • the person should not provide any personal information over a phone or online if the origin of the recipient is doubtful;
  • the applicant should not provide social insurance number on job application until he/ she is hired;
  • people should come up with strong passwords since it essentially reduces the possibility of identity theft;
  • every Internet user should install virus protection software and regularly update it, otherwise, the hackers can steal personal information and sell it to criminals;
  • it is better not to buy online on insecure sites or use only one credit card for online purchases.

FBI developed the site with profiles of cyber’s most wanted criminals due to an increase in identity theft cases. Alexsey Belan is one of the identity thieves who are on the wanted list. The FBI offers almost $100 000 rewards for the disclosure of information on his location or any other data that can be helpful in arresting him. Alexsey is alleged to have stolen the user databases of e-commerce companies in Carolina and Nevada. He made these databases accessible on his server and started negotiated the sales of millions of accounts. Carlos Enrique Perez-Melare is another cybercriminal who is wanted for his alleged involvement in creating spyware. As a result, the private communications of thousands of victims have been intercepted. The criminal offered an electronic card as a way to catch betrayer. Those who opened it would unwillingly install the spyware program onto their computers. The program collected in-coming and out-coming information and periodically sent it to the customer of the program. Alexsey Belan and Carlos Enrique have committed identity thefts since both criminals had stolen personal data for the purpose of financial gain. To reduce the similar cases of identity theft in the future, the steps discussed above can be taken.

Cybercrime is a global phenomenon that cannot be effectively tackled only at the national level. The emergence of various forms of e-crime has been triggered by the development of modern technologies. Current legislative actions do not effectively address identity theft crimes. As a result, the incentives to steal outbalance the risk of being caught. Thus, more uniform and severe laws must be adopted to prosecute and punish identity thieves.