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Cybercrime and Its Changing Nature

Technology has integrated nations and the world has become a global village. The economy of most nations in the world is accessible through the aid of electronics via the internet. Since the electronic market is opened to everybody (which also includes eavesdroppers and criminals), false pretense finds fertile ground in this situation. However, the information technology revolution associated with the internet has brought about two edge functions: That is, on one hand, it has contributed positive values to the world. While on the other hand, it has produced so many maladies that threaten the order of the society and also producing a new wave of crime to the world associated with the nature of cybercrime. The internet online business services, which ordinarily suppose to be a blessing as it exposes one to a lot of opportunities in various fields of life is fast becoming a source of discomfort and worry due to the atrocity being perpetrated through it[1]. Cybercrime is known all over the world as a crime committed through the internet. It is, nowadays, becoming a serious matter of concern all over the world[2].

Cyber crime flourishes in the online environment for a variety of reasons:

  • The fundamentally insecure nature of the internet leaves computers vulnerable to exploitation by less than trustworthy Internet Users.
  • The huge number of computers connected to the internet gives cyber criminals a wide array of targets.
  • The internet is an effective medium for running automated systems thus leading to the automation of online criminal activity
  • The unregulated nature of the Internet makes it inherently difficult to control the content and data traversing the network, thus impeding efforts to combat malicious exploitation of the Internet[3].
  • The Changing Nature of Cybercrime[4]: New trends in cybercrime are emerging all the time, with costs to the global economy running to billions of dollars. In the past, cybercrime was committed mainly by individuals or small groups. Today, we are seeing criminal organizations working with criminally minded technology professionals to commit cybercrime, often to fund other illegal activities. Highly complex, these cybercriminal networks bring together individuals from across the globe in real-time to commit crimes on an unprecedented scale. Criminal organization stunning increasingly to the Internet to facilitate their activities and maximize their profit in the shortest time, the crimes themselves are not necessarily new – such as theft, fraud, illegal gambling, and sale of fake medicines – but they are evolving in line with the opportunities presented online and therefore becoming more widespread and damaging. The following Points will illustrate the changing nature of Cybercrime.
  • Differential Associations: Social learning theories, such as differential association theory, state that criminals develop deviant behaviors and learn the tools of their trade through close association with other deviants. This case study examines a group of 99 email addresses found to be using the same PayPal phishing kit. It uses Open Source Intelligence techniques to determine potential relationships between the holders of these email addresses. The results are then discussed in light of differential association theory to determine the extent to which this theory may aid in the understanding of cybercrime[5].
  • Hidden Criminality: In this information age the physical crimes are somewhat also associated with technology. Some traditional crimes especially those concerning finance and commerce continue to be upgraded technologically. Crimes associated with the theft and manipulation of data is detected daily. A serious and costly terrorist act could come from the internet instead of from a truck bomb. The diary of a serial killer may be recorded on a floppy disk or a hard drive rather than on a piece of paper or a notebook. So as we can see, criminal activity has to some extent converted from a physical dimension in which evidence and investigations are described in tangible terms to a cyber-dimension in which evidence exists only electronically and investigations are conducted online[6].
  • Absence of Guardianship: Social guardianship[7] “refers to the availability of others who may prevent personal crimes by their mere presence or by offering assistance toward off an attack. Most studies have found that the use of physical security devices, including burglar alarms, external lights, extra locks, and other security measures, reduces the risk of burglary and larceny victimization. Even when offenders argue that they are not concerned with these physical guardians, they still normally choose houses without them.  Other scholars, however, have argued that locks are not much of a deterrent for burglars. Once the decision has been made to burglarize a house, the lock simply becomes an obstacle for the burglar to address. Many forms of cybercrime victimization occur simply because of an absence of capable physical guardianship. Physical guardians are readily available on computer systems through antivirus software and similar programs[8].However Personal guardianship plays a role in cybercrime prevention as it can be considered the primary form of defense. Individuals need to be aware of the possible risks and consequences that cybercrime or malware can have on their computer system and of the basic preventative measures that one can take to decrease these risks.  Individuals need to continuously update their physical guardianship tools, including antivirus programs and critical operating system updates. In addition, individuals should limit interactions with strangers as it could increase the odds of different forms of on-line victimization 
  • Unsafe Cyber Café or Knowledge Center

Cyber cafes have emerged as hot spots for cyber crimes. Even terrorists prefer the anonymity of a cyber cafe to communicate with each other. The mushrooming of cyber cafes in the city, which provide the secrecy through cabins constructed for users, has also made the porn literature easily accessible to the people visiting them[9].

  • Fantasy and Curiosity  

With the continuing growth of the Internet, youth cybercrime is fast becoming a mainstream issue. In a recent survey conducted by Tufin Technologies, an online security company, it was found that roughly one in six teenagers in the US, and one in four teenagers in the UK, had tried their hand at some form of internet ‘hacking[10].

[1]The Nature, Causes, and Consequences of Cyber Crime in Tertiary Institutions in Zaria-Kaduna State, Nigeria Folashade  B. Okeshola Abimbola  K. Adeta Department of Sociology Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. American International Journal of Contemporary Research, Vol. 3 No. 9; September 2013

[2]Nature of Cyber Crime and Its Impacts on Young People: A Case from Bangladesh: Mohammad Mostufa Kamal, Iqbal Ahmed Chowdhury, Nadia Haque, Mydul Islam Chowdhury, Mohammad Nazrul Islam,  Vol 8, No 15 (2012) HYPERLINK “”

[3] Nature, Prevalence, and Economic Impact of Cyber Crime: See for Example Australian Computer Society, Submission 38, P2. Dr. Paul Twomey, ICANN, Transcript of Evidence, 8 October 2009, p.2; Australian Communications Consumer ActionNetwork (ACCAN), Submission 57, p.53; Mr. Stephen Wilson, Lockstep Technologies Pty Ltd, Transcript of Evidence, 9 October 2009, p.44; Symantec Asia Pacific Pty Ltd, Submission 32, p.19; Microsoft Australia, Submission 35, p.1; Internet Safety Institute, Submission 37, p.5.

[4], accessed on 5th July 2015

[5] Explaining Cybercrime through the Lens of Differential Association Theory, Hadidi44-2.Php Paypal Case Study, Published in: ecrime Research Summit (ecrime), 2012, 23-24 Oct 2014(Date of Conference), ISSN: 2159-1237, ISBN 978-1-4673-2544-8, Publisher: IEEE

[6]Cyber Forensics, A files manual for collecting, examining and preserving evidence of computer crimes, By: Albert J. Marcella and Robert S. Greenfield, ISBN: 0-8493-0955-7, Cyber-Criminal Activity and Analysis, White Paper Fall 2005, Group 2 NilkundAseef (, Pamela Davis (, Manish Mittal (, KhaledSedky ( Ahmed Tolba (

[7]”Physical guardianship is argued to be as important in preventing digital crime as it is in preventing residential burglary.

[8]On-line Activities, Guardianship, and Malware Infection: An Examination of Routine Activities Theory Adam M. Bossler, Georgia Southern University, USA, Thomas J. Holt Michigan State University, USA, Copyright © 2009 International Journal of Cyber Criminology (IJCC) ISSN: 0974 – 2891 January-June 2009, Vol 3 (1): 400–420


[10]High School Cybercriminals Wreaking Havoc: Why Are More Youths Committing Online Crime?,

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