The internet was first created in the 1960’s, but it only really started to take off and develop in the last 20 years with big websites such as Google (1998) and YouTube (2005). With the internet developing and people knowing more about it, cybercrime then came about and since then it has grown and gotten more dangerous and more extreme. There are several different types of cybercrime for example one is called cyber violence, this includes stalking and harassment, it can also be bullying people online via social networking sites and chat rooms. Cyber obscenity is another type of cyber crime which is sexual including porn sites.
Cyber trespass is the crime of hacking sites and cyber theft is also another cybercrime which is credit card fraud as well as the illegal downloading of movies, music, books etc. Computer hackers are very intelligent, initially they started hacking sites simply because they were able to, and they wanted to explore the sites, at the start it was done just for fun. However it didn’t take long for these hackers to realise their potential and what they could actually be doing, soon it then escalated and they became more educated and more confident in hacking.
These hackers could now be described as ‘attackers’. There are a few types of attacks that can be made on a computer. One is Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. This is a system set up which sends out a fake email to an individual, it could be to check their password for online banking or make credit card payments etc. It will look very genuine to service users and often many of them fall into the trap. E-Mail bomb is another type of attack that can be made, hundreds of emails are sent to a service in order to shut it down.
Another attack is a Trojan Horse, these are attachments sent to people perhaps through email, they may also pop up on the screen. They are very appealing to individuals for example ‘click here for your free iPad’ or ‘you are the 999,999th visitor, click here to claim your free prize’ these are likely to open up viruses. Other types of attacks include Worms, Network Scanning and Key Loggers. Argot is a type of language used for hacking sites and known by all highly skilled hackers. Stalking only became a crime in 1997 and a criminal offence in England and Wales in 2012.
Cyber stalking activities include sending repeated, unwanted messages, it could be ordering stuff on behalf of the victims, publicising the victims personal information, spreading false information about the individual and encouraging others to harass the victim. There are 2 types of stalking, direct and indirect. Direct is most common and often starts with an email. Indirect is stalking with the use of billboards and advertisements. In 1999, Ellison carried out research on Working to the Halt of Abuse Online 2000 and found that 39% of stalkers began contact with the victim via email.
Only 1% of stalkers didn’t use the internet to first get in contact with the victim. Stalkers are likely to be an ex-partner, however half of all stalkers aren’t known by the victim. There were websites set up for people to stalk there ex partner online, they were called ‘Avengers Den’ and ‘Get Revenge On Your Ex’ they were designed so people could crush their ex-partners self esteem and they could fake SMS them. 87% of cyber stalking victims are young women (Working to the Halt of Abuse Online). Only 50% of cyber stalking activities are reported to the authorities.
There are three groups of cyber stalkers; Simple Obsessional, these stalkers have been in a relationship with the victim, the victim has tried to call it of but the stalker refuses to accept it and becomes obsessed with the victim. Love Obsessional, these are stalkers who haven’t had a relationship with the victim but they believe that themselves and the victim have a special connection. Erotomaniac stalkers believe that the victim is deeply in love with them, it can be messages through the media that lead them to believe this. (Melroy, 1996; Mullen et al. , 1999)
Cybercrime violence has links with terrorism. Cyber terrorism is when an attack is made against a person or property. Cyber terrorism can even be causing a person to be fearful of being harmed. Al Qaeda which is an international terrorist organisation which began in the late 1980’s has been on the internet from the late 1990’s. These Al Qaeda sites may only be on the web for a matter of hours before they are shut down, however they are soon replaced by another one. There were an estimated 5,600 sites as of January 2008 and 900 appearing each year (Weimann 2008).
Policing Cyber Crime: Cybercrime has no limits and it can be uncontrollable, there are so many crimes committed online it is hard to keep track of all them. Also it is difficult to see a pattern in cybercrimes. Cybercrime is still developing, there are more viruses every day, it is the fastest moving type of crime. This may be because many people may be committing cyber crime without knowing it, for example people may not know when they are downloading music illegally. Cyber crime is growing and growing.
The internet’s characteristics make cybercrime policing very hard, especially hackers, they are so skilled and make sure they do not get caught. There are state funded public police organisations set up to help police cybercrime and put a stop to it. There are also state funded non police and non public policing organisations. ISPs are set up as well as internet users forming groups to protect themselves from cybercrime. There are specialist units in place for policing cybercrime for example Europol which is the European law enforcement agency and Interpol which is the world’s largest policing agency with 109 countries involved.
They connect policing communities to make the world safer. Forensic Investigation Units, CID/ Fraud Squad, Computer crime units and child protection units are specialist units that deal with cyber crime. The aim for the future is to bring in some form of legislation that cuts down on cyber crime and also to stop cyber crime from starting in the first place. To conclude the internet has proven to be very dangerous and cyber crime is developing rapidly. People have to be extremely careful while using the internet and not fall into the hackers trap.