Cyber Crime

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Cyber crime is an act of crime that involves unlawful acts such as hacking through the internet. Such acts include internet fraud, telemarketing, stealing of essential data from credit cards and identity theft (Gerdes, 2009). Cyber crimes have been on the sharp increase with the ever increasing need for internet on a global scale. The crimes can be committed by an individual or a group of people. The world without internet had a hard time for criminals because intercepting personal information was hard.

Availability of increased use of internet needed that all personal information had to be stored online. This was a leeway for the criminals because they could easily and secretly get access to people’s information through hacking or infecting people’s computers with malwares which secretly steal the owners’ personal information without him/ her realising. Cracking down cyber criminals is complex because their identity and location is anonymous (Gerdes, 2009). Computers used in cyber crime can remotely be controlled by a criminal who is in a different location. This is why it is very complicated to deal with such crimes.

Cyber criminals have a variety of tricks used to commit their offences. Such individuals develop particular well schemed system of accessing and secretly stealing personal information. Some of the techniques used are the use of botnet, fast flux, use of zombie computers, social engineering, skimmers among other tricks. All these strategies are geared towards ensuring that they commit a crime and still remain untraceable.

Fast flux

This is a system utilised by hackers to ensure their location is untraceable. Fast flux works in a way that the stolen confidential data about an individual is passed in a series of computers in different locations. The data is moved in a botnet ; a system that makes it very complicated to trace the origin of the malware that was used to spy on personal information. This system is also very effective in protecting the security agencies from identifying the phishing websites.

Social engineering

Social engineering utilises the phishing technique. Hackers use intellectual systems to trick, manipulate and convince their targets to reveal their personal and confidential data. This system is viewed by cyber criminals as effective and easier to execute as compared to the others. Social engineering is divided in several classes for instance the human based system where there is a personal interaction between the target and the criminal. The criminal can act as a third party, an impersonator or he/ she can pose as an important user such as an IT expert for the company the victim works.

Computer based approach utilises a number of strategies such as phishing, online scams and baiting. Baiting involves the manner in which ads that are appealing to the target pop on the webpage he/ she is browsing. Once the link is clicked the malicious software automatically installs itself in the subject’s computer and automatically steals and sends information.


Botnet is a collection of softwares that are responsible for spreading malwares. In most cases the criminals pose their malicious softwares and impost them with the name of a software (Carr, 2009). Alternatively they can also blend a software download that requires before software is downloaded lots of ads pop on the user’s screen and any wrong click is an automatic download for the malware which secretly installs itself in the user’s computer.

Zombie computer

A computer cracker in a gullible manner penetrates and utilizes a victim’s computer. After infiltration he/ she use the computer to commit criminal offences and illegal activities. The user has no knowledge that his/ her computer is being used and in fact, the computer still works normally. The computer is used to as an execution point for sending web page attacks and spams (Reyes, 2007). When the matter is identified by the counter cyber crime unit the innocent person is arrested. Once the operations of one zombie computer have been compromised the cracker infiltrates into another computer and works the same way. The crackers usually cancel the user’s internet service provider (ISP).

Denial of service

Denial of service (DoS) works in a manner that the legitimate user is denied access to essential information or services. The computer network connection is prone to such attacks which prevent the user from accessing online accounts, websites and emails or any other services that depend on affected computer for transmission (Carr, 2009). Spams can be used to infect Gmail, hotmail and yahoo accounts. An infected computer’s vulnerability state may make the hacker use the infected computer to attack other computers too. In this case, the infected computer is transformed to work as a zombie.

Installation of legitimate and good anti viruses can be the best way to prevent the user’s computer from the denial of service attack. Installation of firewall is also key to preventing such attacks. Common indicators of DoS are an unusual slow network performance, an increase in the number of spams in personal accounts and lack of access to websites.

ATM skimmers

This is whereby a device is used to whip credit card data once the ATM is swiped. Such practices are common restaurants and stores. The data that is stolen is sold to criminals who use it to steal and terrorise the victims. ATM skimming can also be termed as identity theft where criminals steal critical personal stored on credit cards including passwords to financial accounts. The criminals have the ability to make counterfeit readers which the victim unknowingly may swipe his/ her credit card and eventually the counterfeit reader stores all the data in its magnetic strip (Hynson, 2012).

The profiles and categories of cyber criminals change over time. There are several factors believed during classification. The varied motive and intention of the hackers and tools and techniques used by the criminals is essential in their classification. There are two main types of criminal profiling i.e. the deductive and inductive profiling.

The deductive profiling is the manner in which a criminal builds his/ her profile with the basis of the information and data found at the crime scene. The system is based on improved human intelligence and it is not used on static data. The professionals evaluate the hackers’ minds and think exactly in a similar manner as the perpetuator.

The inductive profiling on the other hand utilises the statistics and comparative analysis when creating criminals’ profiles. Data from already committed cybercrimes, system and methods used observations, data from the counter cyber crime database and interviews (Gerdes, 2009). The information is a centre in creating the profile of the criminal.

There are several systems put in place to counter cyber crime. Most counties that have reported high cyber crimes require that all internet service providers have a mandatory of keeping logfiles for a predetermined duration (Reyes, 2007). The European Union has a regulation that anyone involved in E-mail trafficking be convicted and retained for a term not less than one year. In New York for instance, computer related criminal activities have a jail term between six months to fifteen years in prison depending on the class and degree of the crime. Class A crimes are petty cyber crime offences whereas class C and D are crimes that are committed on a much larger scale (Hynson, 2012).

Section 18 U.S.C. § 1028 of the American constitution states that transferring or processing of a device that can be used to fabricate identification documents is a crime (Adamson, 2003). 18 U.S. Code Section 1463 further the use of a computer to ferry in foreign commerce or interstate is an offence (Reyes, 2007). Most states in America classify hacking as an act of trespass and vandalism. The unauthorised access to a computer, computer network or system is a serious transgression. A further alteration, damage disruption or damage of data and operation of a computer is also outlined as unlawful. There are also regulations that stipulate that it is unlawful to receive copy or use information that has been obtained from hacking or cracking. Such crimes have long jail terms.

The jail term for class B misdemeanour hackers is six months in prison with a fine of $ 1000 or at times the hacker may serve any of the two penalties (Hynson, 2012). The class B felony hacker may serve a jail term of even up to 20 years or alternatively be fined $ 15,000 (Carr, 2009). At times the hacker may serve the 20 years sentence and also pay $ 15,000 (Hynson, 2012). The unauthorised access to a computer, computer system or network either remotely or physically is a crime punishable with the penalty being serving a class B misdemeanour sentence or a class D felony jail term which is 5 years with a fine of up to $ 5,000 (Kshetri, 2010).

Several bills in a number of states in the USA are also being put in place to combat cyber crime on a much wider scale. Ohio State for instance, is working on a bill to prevent arrested cyber crime inmates from accessing internet unless it is strictly for educational purposes (Hynson, 2012). New Jersey State currently working on a bill geared at increasing the penalties and jail terms for crimes relating to cyber crime (Hynson, 2012).


The fight against cyber crime should be a global collective responsibility of every state. Apparently, in most third world countries the implementation of legislative measures to counter cyber crimes have been a problem because the countries lack adequate and well skilled personnel that can identify the criminals (Reyes, 2007). Similarly, the advancement in the programming, the zombie computer technology and anonymity makes it even more complicated for developed countries to arrest the criminals. Installation of proper anti-viruses and firewall is important in controlling and preventing occurrence of online cyber crimes.

Promotion of cyber crime and cyber security literacy to internet users is a forward step to make browsing secure, safe and resilient. Coordination between the private sector, government agencies and the whole society makes the fight much easier. The American secret run the Electronic Crime Task Force (ECTF) works to identify and locate the whereabouts of the cyber criminals. The American government estimates a total of $ 600 million has been stolen by crackers and hackers (Hynson, 2012).


Adamson, A. (2003). Cyber crime. Broomall, PA: Mason Crest Publishers.

Gerdes, L. I. (2009). Cyber crime. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.

Hynson, C. (2012). Cyber crime. Mankato, Minn.: Smart Apple Media.

Kshetri, N. (2010). The global cybercrime industry: Economic, institutional and strategic

perspectives. Heidelberg: Springer.