Describe some of the most common forms of digital crime.
There are different forms of digital crimes that we observe in the present technologically advanced world. Following is a brief discussion about a few of them.
Internet and terrorism: In the recent years, it has been observed that internet has been used by various terror groups to spread their message of hate and recruit people for their terrorist groups. According to Conway (2007), the world is in need of better governance systems in place to counter terrorist propaganda on the internet.
Phishing: This is a method which is primarily used by cybercriminal who are interested in acquiring the personal information of internet users. For example you might get an email asking you to fill out a form to change your internet user name and password because the existing one has been compromised.
Hacking: Hacking is a form of unauthorized access to computer systems and networks. With the help of hacking, hackers might steal a variety of information from the host computers and networks that can then be used to get financial and competitive advantages. Huge corporations might use hacking to get access to the organizational data of their competitors.
Child pornography: This is a hideous crime that involves uploading or downloading of sexual material of underage children. This crime is even conducted on a commercial level by digital criminals.
Stalking: This is a type of cybercrime that is characterized by the bullying and frightening of the victims. Bullies may send continuous threatening emails to their victims to bring them under pressures and exploit their weaknesses.
What are the four elements of Akers social learning theory?
Akers social learning theory suggests that people are motivated to engage in criminal activities and acquire the skills to do so with the help of their associated people (Akers, 2011). In principal, this theory focuses on how people learn to commit crimes by learning criminal behavior from their immediate environments. Social factor play an important role in learning to commit a crime.
Following are the four key elements of Akers social learning theory (Nicholson & Higgins, 2017).
Differential association: This signifies the association a person forms with his/her peer groups, family members, the content on the television and internet and neighbors etc. A person interacts with all of them in the daily lives and they play a decisive role in the form the social behavior of a person takes. The influence of the above factors may vary. For example the influence of peers may be major for some while for others, the role internet plays in their social behavior formation may be most important. A person may learn criminal behavior from some or all of these factors and may get help from these factors in learning to commit a crime.
Definitions: Definitions are related to the way behaviors are personally perceived. A person may have an orientation towards drug use and hence may label the habit of drug abuse as something normal which, for other people is not normal. Such is the personalized perception of situations which may shape the behavior of a person different from other people in the same situation. A personalize concept of wrong and right is formed by defining different situation and behaviors from a persona point of view.
Differential reinforcement: This component involves the formation and reinforcement of certain behaviors. If a behavior is rewarded, it might become a desired behavior. On the other hand, if a certain behavior is punished, it may not become a part of the behavioral set of the person. People who does not get punishment for bad behavior and even may get rewarded for such behaviors may adopt to these behaviors which may come under the definition of criminal behavior or may evolve to such behaviors.
Imitation: Imitation relates to modeling the behaviors of others around you. If you see that certain behaviors by others are rewarded, you might also adopt to such behaviors. For example if you live in a house hold where your elder brother is involved in some sort of cybercrime and he is getting rewarded from it in financial terms, you may also start to learn hacking to get the due benefits.
What are virus hoaxes? Why are the hoaxes sometimes more dangerous than an actual virus?
Virus hoax is a message that is sent to computer users alerting them of computer virus threat that does not exist in the reality. These kinds of messages are sent through emails where the recipients may be requested to forward the email to their contacts so that their computers can also be saved. The identification of hoax depends on the computer literacy of the recipients. For example a hoax alert message may inform a computer user that their computer is going to burst in flames due to some existing threat. If the recipient of the message has some computer know how, he/she might ignore such a message as a joke. But if the recipient does not have enough computer literacy, he/she would become curious and may believe the alert to be true.
I have many times received hoaxes informing me that there is a virus on my computer that may delete all the data from my computer. I have a bit of computer know how and have already installed one of the best antivirus software. Therefore, I ignored this alert. Also I marked the email as a spam.
Hoax could be more dangerous than the regular virus because you may already be protected from viruses because of your firewall security and efficient antivirus software but if you believe a hoax, you might follow its instructions and damage some system files manually by yourself which the firewall and antivirus software may not be able to prevent as you would have administrative access to your computer. Therefore, it is important to differentiate between actual threats and hoax. In fact, hoax is itself a threat to your computer files and the security of your computer.
What are the primary challenges that law enforcement agencies face in investigating cyber exploitation?
There are many challenges that law enforcement agencies face in dealing with cyber exploitation and cybercrimes. Some of these challenges are explained in the following (Shinder, 2011).
This refers to who will investigate the cybercrime. For example if a certain type of cybercrime is committed, the FBI and CIA might get into a conflict in deciding who is going to take a lead role. Also there are different branches of law and deciding which of it would deal with the cybercrime being committed could be an issue.
Grade of offence
When it comes to grading regular crimes, it might be easy due to available definitions of different crimes. But cybercrimes is a relatively new field and specific definitions and grading may not be available for these crimes.
This is a great concern when a cybercrime is committed in one country while the perpetrators are sitting in another country. In such case, it may even become impossible to punish the perpetrators as the host country may not have laws to punish people for crimes committed in foreign countries.
Identity of cybercriminals
Cybercriminals may utilize highly sophisticated tools to commit crimes. For example they may use Virtual IPs which masks their original IPs and hence they may not be identified.
Akers, R. L. (2011). Social learning and social structure: A general theory of crime and deviance. Transaction Publishers.
Conway, M. (2007). Terrorism and internet governance: Core issues. In Disarmament Forum (Vol. 2007, No. 3, pp. 23-34). United Nations.
Shinder, D. (2011). What makes cybercrime laws so difficult to enforce. TechRepublic. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/it-security/what- makes-cybercrime-laws-so-difficult- to-enforce/
Nicholson, J., & Higgins, G. E. (2017). Social Structure Social Learning Theory: Preventing Crime and Violence. In Preventing Crime and Violence (pp. 11-20). Springer International Publishing.