Sociology Index



Cybercrime is a crime that involves a computer and a computer network. The computer may be used in the commission of a crime, or the computer may be the target. Cybercrime takes many forms, and it is therefore difficult to fight. Cybercrime include, Identity Theft, Phishing or using fake email messages to get personal information from internet users, and Hacking Computer Networks. With scareware, scammers try to infect as many computers as possible, so that they can execute their malicious tasks such as delivering a Distributed Denial of Service attack, a large-scale spam campaign or other types of cyber attack. Cybercriminals are not required to be physically present at the crime scene. As Brenner (Brenner, 2004a, 2004b) posits, cyberspace provides “perfect anonymity” to its users. Cybercriminals use different tools and technologies to disguise their identity such as encrypted communication, anonymous re-mailers or zombie computers, which makes it difficult to identify and apprehend cybercriminals (Grabosky & Smith, 2001; Wall, 2001; Yar, 2006). Cybercrimes have become high-profile, like hacking, copyright infringement, sextortion, and child pornography. Cybercrimes crossing international borders and involving the actions of at least one nation-state is sometimes referred to as cyberwarfare.

Cybercrime Targets

Targets of cybercrime generally are digitally stored and transmitted information. In the real world every object has a unique identity and takes a unique place in time and space and it cannot be in two different places at a given time, but in cyberspace every object can simultaneously exist in multiple locations (Geer, 2007, p. 29). Information that is stored on a networked computer is more vulnerable to attacks which are likely to come from people who want to copy, modify, destroy, or steal it (Dunn Cavelty, 2007, p. 15).

Cybercrimes like cyberterrorism can include "Offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm, or loss, to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet and mobile phones." Cybercriminals are making virtual connections with children through gaming and social media platforms. One popular site warns visitors, “Please be careful.” - The New York Times.

It has been estimated that the annual damage to the global economy was $445 billion. Approximately $1.5 billion was lost in 2012 to online credit and debit card fraud in the US. In 2018, a study by Center for Strategic and International Studies, in partnership with McAfee, concludes that close to $600 billion is lost to cybercrime each year.

The International Cyber Policing Organization Public Utility was established in Belgium by Royal Decree WL22/16.595 together with 136 Countries on the 22 July 2015. The first International Cyber Policing Summit took place on the 17 and 18 November 2015 attended by 110 officials and 8 ambassadors at the Palais Des Congres te Brussels. CYBERPOL predicted CyberCrime will cost the global economy $1.2 Trillion by the end of 2019.

Debarati Halder and K. Jaishankar further define cybercrime from the perspective of gender and defined 'cybercrime against women' as "Crimes targeted against women with a motive to intentionally harm the victim psychologically and physically, using modern telecommunication networks such as internet and mobile phones". Governmental and non-state actors engage in cybercrimes. 

Cybercrime And Cyber Attack

Cybercrime can also be called Cyber Attack. Internet malware is ubiquitous. Malicious websites, there are billions of them. Antivirus and firewall are also failing to provide protection.

Ransomware is malware-based attack. Ransomware enters your computer network and encrypts your files using public-key encryption, and this encryption key remains on the hacker’s server. Uers are then asked to pay ransom to receive this private key.

Malvertising makes users download malicious code by simply clicking at some advertisement on infected website. Cybercriminals insert malicious advertisements on the websites without the knowledge of the website owner. Malvertising is one of the growing types of cybercrime.

Identity theft is one of the most common types of cybercrime. In Identity Theft happens when a person purports to be some other person, creating a fraud for financial gains. This is also called Online Identity Theft.

Spamming and phishing are very common forms of cybercrimes. Spam is unwanted emails and messages. Phishing is a method where cyber criminals offer a bait to make you give out the information. The bait is anything that promises you money for nothing. The US Cybercrime Center says don't fall prey get to agreements that promise something too good to be true. Social engineering occurs where the cybercriminals make a direct contact with you using emails or phones.

Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS attacks are used to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple locations. Large networks of infected computers, called Botnets are developed by planting malware on the victim computers. Extortion and blackmail are generally the motivations.

Cybercrime: The Transformation of Crime in the Information Age.
David S. Wall. Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, School of Law, University of Leeds. POLITY, 2007.
Abstract: How has the internet transformed criminal behaviour? What is different about cybercrime compared with traditional criminal activity? What new criminal opportunities have arisen? What impact might cybercrime have on public security?
This book carefully examines these and other important issues and discusses what is known about cybercrime, disentangling the rhetoric of risk assessment from its reality. The author scrutinizes the regulatory challenges that cybercrime poses for the criminal (and civil) justice processes, at both the national and the international levels. This book offers a very comprehensive, and intellectually robust, account of cybercrime in a progressing narrative and talks to a range of audiences. Looking at the full range of cybercrime, the text illustrates how the increase in personal computing power available within a globalized communications network has affected the nature of and response to criminal activities. Drawing on empirical research findings and multidisciplinary sources that author goes on to argue that we are beginning to experience a new generation of automated cybercrimes, which are almost completely mediated by networked technologies that are themselves converging.