Has crime developed to take advantage of new technologies or have new technologies facilitated the commission of crime?
Cyber crime is the collective name given to all forms of online or computerised crime.
Snail (2009) defined cybercrime as: any criminal activity that involves a computer and can be divided into two categories. One, it deals with crimes that can only be committed which were previously not possible before the advent of the computer such as hacking, cracking, sniffing and the production and decimation of malicious code (Gordon 2000). The other category of computer crimes are much wider and have been in existence for centuries but are now committed in the cyber environment such as internet fraud…’
My first view on this is that the answer is both. New technologies both facilitate the commission of crime. Plus crime has adapted to take advantage of new technology. Some technologies exist to reduce the risk of being cyber attacked but I may argue that sometimes it’s too slow to catch up.
Some examples of cyber crime include;
Hacking – essentially an illegal way into a computer system without the owner’s permission
Phishing – accessing information that is confidential such as bank details by deceptive means
Spoofing – getting one computer on a network to pretend to have the identity of another computer in order to gain access to the network
Cyber-stalking – this is essentially online harassment
Cyber defamation – this refers to online defamation
Threatening – this can include sending threatening emails to an intended victim or via social media
In business , due to how much cyber crime is going on, like phishing and hacking, businesses have to have cyber security in place and not just firewalls like Fortinet firewalls, they need cyber security awareness training for their employees to minimise the risk of cyber crime affecting them and their organisation which could not just be financially a big issue but they could risk having their customers data stolen and this would be a PR disaster. We have heard of companies like Equifx and capital one being hacked risking their customers data.
Individuals are at risk of being hacked as they may click on a cyber phishing email that looks legit but isn’t and they then type their passwords in and these then get stolen.
Social media also, as a platform makes is easier for some cyber criminals to gain insight and information about individuals and companies that they may wish to target. Furthermore, cyber bullying is known as a relatively new crime and social media provides a platform for this. It is hard to get this to stop without making reports to the police and even then it is difficult to completely prevent.
There’s an example of where a highly skilled tech person committed a crime, managed to use their technology, ‘know how,’ to hide some of their trace and not even the police could get all the information they needed. The police often have their hands tied because they cannot go to Facebook and say, ‘give me access to this person’s account,’ without a very costly battle. Furthermore, WhatsApp owned by Facebook is all encrypted so if the police want information from WhatsApp, WhatsApp says, ‘no we can’t help it’s all encrypted….’ Having had conversations with the police in my life time, one police officer said, ‘it makes it easier for those who are clued up on technologies to hide what they are doing.’ They don’t have the time, resource or even the technology advancements to do what they need to do on all cases and in particular those they think may be minor.
‘As a result of the perceived seriousness of cybercrime, the Home Office in 2010 designated cyber-attacks as one of the top threats the country faces, along with terrorism, war, and natural disasters’. As tech advances, cyber criminals make use of it and it means the non-criminals who work in cyber security have to keep making tech advances to reduce risks. Insurance companies offer cyber crime policies due to how big of a problem cyber crime is. In business related cyber crime, things like MFA (multi factor authentication), strong passwords and cyber security awareness all make a difference.
By Faye Eldridge. 2020.