Introduction: The most commonly used form of technology is the internet. The internet has transformed society significantly by making life easier for individuals by allowing information to be obtained in a faster manner and communication is instantaneous. Individuals can e-mail with friends, family and coworkers, learn about important news and events right away and use the internet in other ways to perform daily tasks without difficulty. Although the internet is a benefit for society, there is always an evil that will counteract the good of technology. With the development of the internet has come the development of cyber crime. Cyber crime has been a constant problem for internet users. “Any crime committed via the internet is a cyber crime” (Elizabeth, & Kitchen, 2010). The types of cyber crime range from fraud, identity theft, child pornography, threats, terrorism, etc. “According to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, the cyber crime problem is rapidly increasing” (Sorkin, 2010).
The amount of cyber crime is only going to increase as new internet resources are invented. The public is exposed to many different websites and programs on the internet and is not conscience of the threats lurking in the cyber world. Anytime someone enters credit card information for an online purchase or enters their social security number on a website, they are risking their identity and are prone to be victims of fraud. “The online fraud is also a threat to the society and a set back to the economy of any country” (Sorkin 2010). Although fraud is the most common form of criminal activity on the internet, sexual predators are another major problem. They use the internet to commit indecent acts such as watching child pornography or interact with children inappropriately. “The victims of the cyber crime have to go through severe loss and also suffer from great distress” (Sorkin 2010). The cyber criminals also gain a fair amount of money from their crimes which effects victims and economies around the world. Although security exists in the cyber community, to deter it even further new security methods need to be enacted that adapt with the new advancements in cyber technology.
Background: When the internet became easily attainable to the public, it was used without care. A person no longer had to drive to the bank to make a money transfer; they could do it from their home computer with one click of the mouse. Although this is a plus side of the internet, it led to people sharing their information online without caution. “"Whatever a criminal can think of doing in the flesh-and-blood world, he or she can more than likely do in cyberspace," said Honolulu Detective Chris Duque, lead cybercrime investigator for the white-collar crimes division at the Honolulu Police Department” (Schaefers, 2003). The internet was looked at as a miraculous invention of the 21st century, but hackers found an opportunity to con millions of internet users out of their money and dignity. “It is worth mentioning that in 2007; almost $52 billion was generated from online frauds, across the world” (Sorkin, 2010). Criminals can easily steal credit card information, take over someone’s identity by stealing personal information and many times, criminals will pose as a charity case to cheat victims out of their life savings.
The internet has also created serious problems for families and their children around the world. Instant messaging programs became extremely popular with internet users, because they provided an immediate means of communication between individuals. Chat rooms are a form of instant messaging that allows users to chat with a group of people all at once who share the same interests or hope to make friends. However, that is not always the case especially with minors. Sexual predators log in to chat rooms posing as someone they are not and they attempt to convince minors to meet them outside of the cyber world and engage in sexual exploitations. “Four percent of all youth Internet users received aggressive sexual solicitations, which threatened to spill over into "real life". These solicitors asked to meet the youth in person, called them on the telephone, or sent offline mail, money, or gifts. Also 4 percent of youth Internet users had distressing sexual solicitations that left them feeling upset of extremely afraid” ("Enough is enough:," 2006). “ According to recent figures from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children one of every five children is sexually solicited over the internet by predators who try to set up face-to-face meetings with them” (Sommers, 2008).
Fraud and sexual predators are only a few examples of the dangers of the cyber world. “Cybercrimes include intellectual property theft, child pornography, cyber-stalking, terroristic threats and acts, illegal copying and selling of music, movies, software or any other copyrighted or trademarked item, thefts of trade secrets, thefts of cable and satellite signals, and Internet fraud” (Shaefers, 2003). It is important that these crimes are counteracted and terminated by law enforcement as best they can.
Potential Benefits: The potential benefits of cyber crime may be hard to recognize, but there are many that pertain to the public’s safety. The amount of criminal activity in the cyber world has led to the development of stricter security measures and the fruition of new branches of criminal justice departments that specifically cater to deterring cyber crime. Specialized police departments track down criminals that commit acts of fraud, theft and piracy. Parents are also taking action when it comes to their child’s safety on the internet. “Fifty- three percent of parents say they have filtering software on the computer their child uses at home” ("Enough is enough," 2006). When parents monitor their child’s activity on the internet they are deterring sexual predators from contacting their child and avoiding any potential criminal victimization. Popular social-networking sites like Facebook and Myspace have kept up with the influx of cyber crime by making privacy settings adhere to an individual’s needs. As long as there is cyber crime there will always be the benefit of new security measures.
Further Required Research: There is a large amount of cyber crime in the internet world and it will continue to rise as newer internet components are developed. “Cybercrime will never be contained because people grasp technology much faster than they grasp social, ethical or legal issues” (Schaefers, 2003). It is difficult to completely diffuse cyber crime so there will never be a complete solution to it. "Technology is a tool that makes the job easier for law-abiding citizens, but it does the same thing for crooks, too" (Schaefers, 2003). As long as the internet allows easy access of communication and activities such as, paying bills or sharing personal information, it will be easy for criminals to access personal information. Police will have to work extremely hard to deter all cyber crime, but it seems that will be a daunting task. There are billions of internet users in the world so it is hard for law enforcement to track down each criminal and enforce punishment.
Conclusion: Cyber crime is a growing problem for internet users. Although the internet allows the world to connect in a fast manner and perform everyday tasks diligently, it poses a threat to society because it attracts a large amount of cyber criminals. Cyber crime consists of fraud, theft, sexual predators, etc. These types of crime take place every day in the cyber world and it will only get worse. Criminals will always keep up with the advancements of the internet and find new ways to get around security blockades. Hopefully, one day cyber crime will be a problem of the past, but for now it is important for law enforcement to work hard to stop cyber criminals. The internet is an incredible technology that benefits mankind in countless ways and once criminal activity through the internet is completely deterred, it can benefit mankind in more ways than ever imagined.
Elizabeth, R., & Kitchen, C. (2010, August 23). Cyber crime facts and cyber crime growth. Retrieved from http://www.brighthub.com/internet/security-privacy/articles/83739.aspx
This article written by R. Elizabeth and C. Kitchen was valid for the research paper on ‘Cyber Crime’ because it gave statistics on cyber crime. The statistics ranged from the amount of money lost to cyber criminals and the amount of cyber crime that takes place per year.
Enough is enough: protecting our children online. (2006). Retrieved from http://enough.org/inside.php?tag=statistics#6
This article, retrieved on October, 10 2010, gives information on sexual predators on the internet and their impact on society and children. Statistics are given on the amount of sexual predator crimes on the internet and the amount of action taken to stop this type of cyber crime.
Schaefers, Allison. (2003, May 28). Fbi fights cybercrime rise. Honolulu Advertiser,
Allison Shaefer, a reporter for the Honolulu Advertiser, reports on the influx of cyber fraud and the measures that are being taken to control it.
Sommers, M. (2008). The dangers of online predators. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group.
Sommers gives a detailed description of what children do on the internet and what/who they are exposed to. The books purpose is to inform minors and other internet users of the dangers on the internet and the sexual predators that hope to lure and sexually exploit children.
Sorkin, Justin. (2010). Cyber crime- a growing problem in the society . TopNews, Retrieved from http://topnews.us/content/227137-cyber-crime-growing-problem-society
Sorkin informs the reader of cyber fraud and other criminal activities by providing specific examples of crimes that have taken place and the result of those crimes.