Internet and crime
The internet has aided criminal activities in the world today through enhancing communication between persons in different locations. With the help of the internet, people can now comfortably communicate irrespective of their geographical position. As much as this has had several advantages in various industries such as economic sector, health and education, it has also brought about increase in fraud, identity theft and besides compromised privacy. Contrary to the United States constitution, the internet has allowed access to frightening information and even government records. Criminal activities aided by the internet have even spread to include increase of child pornography, trafficking, indecent exposure and harassment. In addition, the internet has made it possible for people to have access to personal information, poison recipes and even bomb making instructions which have not been easily accessible before. With the wide spread of the internet, religious cults and other extremists ideologies such as organized crime has also increased (Brenner, 2007).
Identity theft, cyber stalking and computer viruses are some of the main examples of internet aided criminal activities. Identity theft involves serious fraud cases whereby someone steals money though by false identity. It mainly focuses on the internet based money transfers or payment method whereby someone receives money by pretending to be another. Financial identity thefts are also highly associated with other criminal activities such as illegal migration, blackmailing and terrorism (Williams, 2006). Cyber stalking, another common internet criminal activity involves continuous use of the internet to communicate to another person further resulting to torture. The illegal method of communication brings about criminal activities such as false accusations, data destruction and transmission of threats. In most cases cyber stalking is encouraged by chat rooms, social network sites and online forums. In the recent past cyber stalking activities have highly been noted by the rise of obscene emails, threatening and abusive phone calls. Further, computer viruses are another common criminal activity aided by the internet. Computer viruses refer to a computer program that can easily replicate to cause harm to another computer system without the knowledge of the user. With the use of computer viruses crimes involving privacy, data destruction and privacy have become quite possible. Before the introduction and wide spread of the internet, the above crimes which mainly relate to privacy, black mail and theft were non digital and less sophisticated since they highly required physical presence but with the help of the internet they have become much easier and highly spread especially because of the development of viruses, malicious code and phishing attack.
Computer viruses, malicious code and phishing attack are the main programs that are highly used in the computer internet based criminal activities to cause damage or other undesirable effects to a computer or a network. In most cases these programs role is to cause damage by modifying, stealing or destroying data (Peter, 2005). The damage caused can also include gaining or simply allowing access to a secure system or information by presenting unwanted screens or performing the functions of the user never intended. Computer viruses and phishing attack are forms of malicious codes. Other forms include logic bomb, spyware, Trojan horses and black door programs. Almost all types of malicious codes pose serious danger to computer information and software. Therefore, computer users and administrators should take precautions and prevent attacks from malicious codes.
Brenner, S. (2007) Law in an Era of Smart Technology, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Peter, S. (2005). The Art of Computer Virus Research and Defense. Boston: Addison-Wesley
Williams, M. (2006) Virtually Criminal: Crime, Deviance and Regulation Online: Routledge, London.
Internet and crime