The internet evolution observed within the past few year has led to the rise of the social media network. It is a fact that these networks are rapidly changing the forms of communications and interactions among people around the globe. More people are embracing these networks. The vast number of social media users is proof of an operative impact of the evolution and the emergence of these networks. Conversely, every fruition activity has its drawback. Cybercrime is one of the issues that are directly related to social media networks. Cybercrime refers to a criminal activity whereby criminals use the computer as a tool, cause, or target of a crime. Internet is also an essential pathway to this kind of illegal activity. The emergence and development of social media is the leading cause of the rise of cybercrimes cases reported every year. This paper will focus on the effects of social media on the cybercrime.
Identity theft and misuse is a significant effect of social media on cybernetics. Most social media platforms do not concentrate much on their user privacy. Besides, most social media platforms require their user to enter some of their confidential information to sign in. A significant number of users are ignorant about how the info can be relevant to the cybercriminals. Hence they willingly tend to enter. Since most platforms do not take into account the security of their user’s details, the info is left available to other users. The cybercriminal can easily access that information of their target.
The cybercriminal can use that information to carry out other criminal activities such as phishing, for self-gain. They can also sell or create new identities for other criminals. Therefore, it is easier for other perpetrators to commit unlawful activities and conceal from law enforcement agencies. According to the researcher, there has been an even increase in the number of cases of identity theft and misuse every year. Social media networks are a significant cause of this increase.
The ability to track users is another effect of social media networks on the cybercrime. The evolution of social media platforms has led to the emergence of features that allow their users to update their status frequently. Besides, most platforms ask the users to add information about their current and previous residence, and schools attended, among others. Users can also see and show their emotions on posts from other users regardless of knowledge or friendship. If a user pins his current location and activity, likes and dislikes among others on his status, a cybercriminal can easily keep a track on him. Also, through the users’ posts, such as photos, videos, and contexts, and the emotions the user shows on other users’ post, computer criminals can effortlessly gather relevant information, analyze it and predict their target next events. Using these predictions, the criminals can commit other more severe cyber-attacks. They can also sell that information to other criminals. Therefore, other perpetrators can put up a security threat to either the user or to the other family members and friends.
Cyber terrorism is another serious effect of social media on the cybercrime. Social media networks are meant to unite people around the globe. However, social media networks facilitate cyber terrorism. Terrorists, with the help of cybercriminals, exploit social media to accomplish several objectives, create unity disorder, generate financial income, acquiring new identities, and data mining. Cybercriminals create new accounts on social media platforms, such as Facebook, using fake identities. They then send a friend request to as many users as possible within the area of the target. They can then use those accounts to mail graphics and contexts which can cause panic and distrust among people, hence distracting unity and facilitating terrorist attacks.
Moreover, cybercriminals steal personal information of other social media users and use it to create new identities for the terrorists. They also use their data mining competency to pinch confidential information, such as credit cards information and use it to forge characters. They can then use the fake credit cards to make purchases and withdraw cash from bank accounts of other social media users, to finance terrorism.
Property stalking is also a severe social media issue relating to cybercrime. Social media facilitates the transmission of harmful programs such as computer viruses and malware, ransomware, among others. Cybercriminals create such programs and attach them to posts and ads in such a way that if a social media platform user clicks, download or opens a link with those malicious files, their computer gets affected.
The criminals create different files with different aims, sabotage, data mining, or financial gain. In most cases, criminals use ransomware for monetary gain. Ransomware conceals essential information from the computer owner. Therefore, the owner has to pay for the decryption of his data. On the other hand, cybercriminals use social media platforms to send malicious software that assists them in data mining and vandalism. They use the software to crack or hack into their targets’ computers.
Cyber-stalking and defamation is also a cybercrime that closely relates to social media. People consider social media as a better way to speak their mind. However, cybercriminals take it as a way to deriver defamatory contents. In this case, criminals use defamatory materials to cyber stalk their targets. Cyber-stalking refers to the use of the internet, social media networks, as a medium of sending threatening materials to frighten or harass the recipient. The cybercriminals may create defamatory content on their target. They may then contact the target threatening to post these contents on the social media platforms. Here, the victim is forced to do as the criminals instruct them to do. Mostly, these criminals target reputable persons such as politicians.
Threat from using third-party applications is an impact of social media on the cybercrime that commonly affects youth. Utmost every social media platform requires their users to enter their personal information while signing in. Some of these platforms have secure users’ data privacy. Hence, it is difficult for the intruders to access that info. Cybercriminals use third-party applications to access the information they need. Third party applications may include games, music apps, among others. They seek permission to access users’ data from social media platforms. Some of these applications may download malware. The cybercriminals may, therefore, use this malware to steal the relevant information they need when the user grants the permission.
Privacy infringement is also an effect on cybercrime. Most social media platforms give their user the privilege to choose the level of privacy of their personal information. When the user sets the default setting as public, the info is left accessible to everyone. Therefore, it is easy for criminals to access that information.
The users’ trust of social media networking sites operators and strangers poses a potent effect of social media on cybercrime. Personal information and the contents user post on social media are usually accessible to the operators. The gen can be available to the operators even after deletion. Some of these operators are not trustworthy. They can misuse or trade users data. Some users also offer trust to strangers quickly. Accepting friend request from unknown people exposes a user to cyber-crime,
In conclusion, social media is the principal cause of the widespread of cyber-crime. It is changing to a gold mine of cybercriminals. It is not only a data mining site but also a market site where criminals trade information illegally. Its security vulnerability and users’ ignorance makes it more favorable for cyber-crime.