Internet and Cybercrime
The use of the Internet in the past years has fastened the speed of transferring information. The world has been transformed into a global village through the network communication. Although some people have not benefited from the usage of the Internet, it has proved to be crucial to most people. The Internet has great importance in the field of commerce, education, and entertainment among others. There are also negative impacts associated with the Internet, such as the increasing number of cybercrimes. Information technology has facilitated the act of committing cybercrimes with the offenders getting away with it. It is much easier to commit cybercrimes than to physically be involved with the theft. The paper examines the use of the Internet and the associated cybercrimes.
Any crime that is executed through the Internet is referred to as cybercrime. It involves the use of a device especially a computer and a network to engage in a fraud practice. The crime comprises of extracting emails, trespassing into remote systems or government documents, creating viruses’ in computers among others. Activities that involve the use of the Internet can be very vulnerable to crime. It should be a concern for most firms since it can lead to victimization just like the standard physical offenses. These crimes have been in existence for a very long time, and they keep on happening again while others become modified. When the crime occurs today, the offenders are often not easily traced. It is important for the personnel to take measures to protect themselves through safe online practices.
The advancement of technology has created opportunities for the practice of Internet crimes. The criminal offenders have increased to an alarming level. Most of them have personal computing devices that they use to carry out the criminal acts (Wall 15). For example, between 2008 and 2009, several US citizens have raised complaints about the Internet crime. There was 33.1% increase of the citizens’ complaint cases that was reported by the National White Collar Crime Center. Besides, another source reported that the margin of the criminal cases was growing annually.
Therefore, the innovation of technology has led to the rise of the Internet crime. More Internet services are provided giving rise to more Internet users. Life has been simplified for the users since the Internet has enabled the access and link to entertainment, communication, investment, and banking industry. The integration of these applications and services has rendered some organization and personnel victims of the fraudulent activities. If precautions are not formulated and implemented, the organization becomes vulnerable.
It is estimated that more than 150,000 viruses are created and shared through cyberspace. Almost the exact number has affected corporate and government offices. Information and data are lost in the act of the crime. For example, in the U.S., the amount of information that was lost in 2008 was $265 million. In the following year, the number doubled which was a loss to the organizations. The majority of the losses originate from cyber scams. They are carried out by criminals who claim to be government agents. They end up collecting classified information that poses risks to the corporation. In the case of an encounter of such crimes, it should be reported immediately and control measures implemented (Wall 28).
Since the majority of the cybercrime targets are government offices and Corporation, a security alert is necessary. Their databases and software should be protected most of the time. The cost of maintaining and protecting its devices is relatively high. The more the crimes are reported, the higher the cost is increasing. Every year in the UK, the cost of restoring a cybercrime is estimated to be GBP27 billion.
The government should focus on the cost structure to plan and understand the areas to be affected by the crime. There is the cost in anticipation of cybercrime that involves security measures such as antiviral software installation. Cost as a consequence of cybercrime which entails monetary losses to firms in cases of intellectual property theft. There is also cost in response to cybercrime and indirect costs associated with cybercrime. The implementation of the cost structure has enhanced some nations to reduce the menace of cybercrime. Countries such as the UK have allocated GBP 63 million to combat the digital crime (Wall 64).
Cyber-attacks cannot be dealt with negligence since it is on the rise especially against the government entities. The attacks have evolved by enhancing the use of the online weapons. There are resultant long-term effects in the attack of the air control systems, financial markets, and other utilities. Experts have discovered that the assault has crippled the economies of most states as well as stealing of critical and classified information of the state. Therefore, the world has encountered all these scenarios and demands for strict precautions.
There are various occasions that offenders of cybercrime have targeted the state. In the US defense system, individual incidences have been witnessed. In March 2011, there were a group of hackers known as the ‘Anonymous. The group was under investigation by the US officials for plotting to hack the Marine Corps, which is based in Quantico, VA. The group is claimed to be in a conflict with the government for being against WikiLeaks (Wall 53). Pentagon was also compromised in 2009 by a group of hackers. It was discovered that a significant amount of data was lost about a Strike Fighter Project. Before that year, Pentagon was also hacked, and 1500 computers were destroyed following the breach of the email system at the office of the Secretary of Defense.
Apart from the US, other international arenas are also victims of the web war. Hackers have attempted to target the global summits have somehow been successful in some occasions. In March 2011 there was a summit at the EU headquarters on economic reforms and current affairs. The computer networks were breached, and the hackers got away with some crucial information. The French Finance Ministry was also hacked, and sensitive information about the G20 summit was stolen. The hackers were able to control and manage more than 100 computers at the Ministry and accessed crucial documents.
Identity verification in protecting the user’s access to personal belongings is a vital aspect. Computer geeks and security professionals have noted three principles that guarantee safety and protection in the virtual space. Reducing the level of cybercrimes demands that the user be equipped with the knowledge of accessing a particular system. The information will act as the password or username of the system. The system assumes that anyone who has the knowledge to the access of the system is the owner of the account. Therefore, it is important to secure one’s password.
The second principle of verification is the possession of a document, card, or key to gain access to a particular system or place. It must be in physical form. The third principle involves the user’s biological characteristics. It encompasses various parts such as fingerprints, iris, and odor among others. It is very rare for two people to share similar characteristics thus qualifies one user as the actual owner of the system. For a person most necessarily a hacker to obtain the biometric information of another person, high level of technology must be initiated (Wall 88). Therefore, this principle is the most expensive and effective.
However, the combination of these three principles offers the best and safest cyberspace for most users. The chances of breaching in the system are low since there is a high level of security. It becomes difficult and takes a longer procedure to hack and compromise information stored in it. Although sometimes database can be compromised, the combination of the principles provides an extremely secure system.
When the online fraudulent acts are done by the means of stolen identification and other electronic transactions, they are classified as computer-based crimes. The advancement of technology created personal computers which are tools of performing fraud practices. As more and more users are introduced to information technology, further crimes are committed. The online fraudsters steal confidential information from electronic transactions. The mostly affected users are the Internet connected computers that hackers view as easy targets. The result is very devastating since emails get stolen which is disastrous and can result in the collapse of the organization.
Cybercrime nature is devastating, and nations have taken several steps to fight it. Countries such as the UK relate it to international terrorism. Strategies have been put in place to combat the menace. There is no difference between cyber criminals and traditional criminals. The only advantage that the former enjoys is they make money quickly and easily. When facing the law, they should, In fact, face heavier punishment than the latter. Certain strategies can allow the prevention of cybercrime in a reasonable and profitable way.
Strategies for preventing cybercrimes involve keeping the computer system updated. As computers become outdated, it acts as flaws which become vulnerable to the hands of cyber criminals. It becomes easily attacked and confidential information extracted out of the system. The anti-virus software should automatically update itself when connected to the Internet (Wall 25).
Users should always protect their personal information. People often use some of their personal information like birthday date and surname to use as password entry to a system. One should be careful not to reveal the crucial information to the wrong person. It will save the trouble of being a victim of the cybercrime.
The stronger password should be advised with several characters with the combination of letters and numbers. It can be difficult for hackers to crack the password and have access to the files in the system. The act of changing and updating the password after a period of days is also encouraged. The user ensures that there is a limit in the time of accessing of sensitive information. Firewalls should always be kept on every time. It prevents the system from hackers who want to compromise the system by either crashing the system or steal information. People who own single computers are the most recommended users for this particular strategy.
In spite of all these strategies, completely wiping cybercrime is not possible. The cyber criminals cause challenges that pose difficulty in fighting the crime (Wall 66). The criminals are evolving each and every day with new techniques that keeps them one step ahead of the law enforcers. Tracking the origin of the crime can be a huge task. It is because the criminal activity is untraceable and has no defined border. The computer geeks are very smart at their work and are good at covering their tracks.
There exist a short number of cybercrime fighters. When employing a team of professionals to tackle cyberspace, it must be skilled personnel to combat the offense. They will ensure that the cyber security measures are implemented and acted upon. There is a shortage of this personnel to fight the crime that is continuously spreading annually.
The rate at which pirated software has been widespread is alarming. Software piracy has to be a major challenge of fighting cybercrime. It is due to the reasons that the pirated software are easily attacked and affected by viruses and malware. Games and movies that are downloaded illegally are examples of pirated software as well as security software. When users practice piracy, they increase their chances of getting cyber-attacks.
Cybercrimes are contemporary crimes that need to be addressed seriously. The growth of technology has enhanced the creation of Internet frauds. Their activities mean no good to most firms, corporations, and governments. Therefore, there is the concern of fighting the cyber-attacks in order to make the world a better place.
Wall, David. Cybercrime: The Transformation of Crime in the Information Age. Malden,MA: Polity Press, 2007. Print.