Cybercrime is a broad term that describes activities in which computers or computer networks make up the tools, targets or place of crime. Examples include electronic cracking, computer viruses, hacking, and internet fraud (Babu & parishat, 2008). On the other hand, traditional crimes include fraud, theft, blackmail, forgery, and embezzlement. These crimes are punishable by law because they are known to inflict harm to people or property (Brenner, 2009).
Cybercrimes are more prevalent than traditional crime. This is because recently, computers or networks have been used to facilitate traditional crimes such as theft, blackmail, forgery, and gambling. Cyber stalking is an example of a traditional crime that has taken a new form when facilitated through computer networks (Siegel, 2008). This is a clear indication that more criminals are now shifting to cybercrimes due to availability of potential victims.
Cybercrime is complicated because of its rapid evolution with new schemes being created. In addition, it is difficult to detect it through traditional law enforcement channels (Babu & parishat, 2008). Finally cybercrime requires that the justice system develops detection systems which match with those of the criminals. This is because perpetrators have integrated IT methods with traditional crimes making it difficult for justice systems. Moreover, the evidence left after a crime is neither physical nor human. This requires the justice systems to come up with detection methods that can use programming codes (Babu & parishat, 2008).
The ever growing presence of the internet and computers in homes globally shows that more people are exposed to cybercrime each year (Siegel, 2008). This has brought about the era of information technology which is part and parcel of daily life in most industrialized communities. Internet is currently the chosen medium for providing services such as entertainment and education. Consequently, this vast network has become the target for illegal activities (Siegel, 2008).
Cybercrime can be stopped through in depth research regarding the source,methods and motivation of this criminal group. Additionally,criminal investigating units should develop detecting programmes that match with those of the perpetrators. Besides, cybercrime legislation must become flexible and evolve as cybercrime evolves. In addition, the governments and law enforcers should develop regulations as well as policies. This will be used to investigate and prosecute these criminals and to prevent future crimes.
On the same note, law enforcement can use encryption which increases privacy (Pattavina, 2005). It is worth noting that computers have brought a new era filled with the potential for good. However, the era also has ushered in new types of crime into the world. Law enforcement must therefore seek ways to prevent the drawbacks from overriding the great promise of the computer era.
- Babu, & p. M. (2008). Computer Crime Research Center. Retrieved August 13, 2010, from What Is Cybercrime?: http://www.crime-research.org/analytics/702/
- Brenner, S. (2009). Crime vs cybercrime;;Is the law adequate? Retrieved August 13, 2010, from CrcleID Internet in frastructure: http://www.circleid.com/posts/20050506_crime_vs_cybercrime_is_law_adequate/
- Pattavina, A. ( 2005). Information technology and the criminal justice system. London: SAGE.
- Siegel, L. J. (2008). Criminology. Florence : Cengage Learning.