The paper will discuss how internet facilitates crime in the society. Though internet plays an extremely decisive role in networking people together, it gives criminals a great opportunity to commit crimes. This is by providing easy and inexpensive access to broad information, which is imperative in steering a crime. Internet crime has adverse effects on community such as loss of business assets, loss of personal financial resources and resulting emotional stress, costs in time and resources for law enforcement agencies.
There are several types of internet crime. Hacking is the outstanding internet crime. Criminals deface websites by changing details of another person’s website. The server can also be crashed by overwhelming a site with countless messages. Hacking is a serious invasion of privacy and poses a large threat to electronic-commerce (Baird, 2005). The criminals gain access to victims’ files, browsing history as well as passwords. This is achieved by attracting people to download files or click on attachments. Company computer systems are quite difficult to hack because of firewalls presence. Internet sex crimes are also a common internet crime where minors are forced to involve themselves in sexual activities (Taylor, Quayle, p. 5). These cases are prosecuted heavily by the state and federal authorities.
Internet fraud is also a common internet crime. Personal financial accounts are hacked to access confidential information. The information is used to take credits and loans in other people’s names (Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, 2003). Employees enter false data or alter data before it is entered. Output is also destroyed, altered or stolen in order to conceal unauthorized transactions, which is difficult to detect. Stored data may similarly be deleted or altered to remove any trace of fraud. An individual’s wireless connection can also be hijacked by criminals for them to use it without paying for it. Customers are emailed advising them to confirm certain passwords by clicking a realistic but fake website and they are supposed to input their confidential information. Money is transferred easily from the individuals account.
Several crimes that are non-digital are currently performed through the use of internet. These crimes include fraud, which was replaced by online fraud; burglary was replaced by online hacking or denial of service attacks and use of viruses. Child sex offences have been replaced by online child grooming and online child pornography while theft was replaced by identity theft.
Viruses play a vital role in internet crime. A virus may be in the form of a code, which attaches itself to a computer program and reproduces itself (Baird, 2005). It may also be in the form of a worm but it doesn’t attach itself to computer programs or files but it freely spreads through a network on its own. Virus in the form of Trojan horse is a program that pretends to be doing something else while it is performing malicious actions (Taylor, Quayle, & Ebooks Corporation, 2003). Malicious codes cause damage to computer systems. The code is uncontrollable through use of an anti-virus. Malicious codes cause a lot of damage by deleting files and they send messages through email thereby stealing information.
Phishing refers to a practice where criminals send fraudulent emails to trick individuals with an intention of obtaining money from the victims who fall for the trick. Spam is used to deceive the customers to disclose their bank account details, credit card numbers, passwords, social security numbers and other sensitive information. Elderly people are more vulnerable to phishing attacks as compared to young people.
Baird, N. (2005). Criminal law. London: Cavendish.
Minnesota Institute of Legal Education. (2003). Internet crime. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Institute of Legal Education.
Taylor, M., Quayle, E., & Ebooks Corporation. (2003). Child pornography: An Internet crime. Hove, East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge.