Society is being heavily reliant on technology and the internet in the twenty-first century, which simplifies jobs by automating many tasks. While people’s reliance on computer networks has changed their lives, it also raises concerns about the protection of knowledge exchanged. The increased global connectivity has also resulted in a spike in cases of cyber-crime, which refers to illegal acts conducted over telecommunication networks such as the internet and computer networks (Turrillo).
Crimes are often directed at people, organizations, or even nations, with the suspect intending to cause injury, either physically, socially, or psychologically. It is a serious crime which has the potential of crippling the security of an entire country. Cybercriminals have also advanced in their techniques where they are now high-profile individuals who are established and organized globally (Arora). In the 21st century, cyber crimes are often used to accomplish specific targets where the criminals hope to benefit.
Cyber crimes are often used to spread messages which promote and encourage pornography contents which involve children. Child pornography includes the use and possession of images and pictures of sexual nature with children as the subjects. It is documented as a fast-growing industry that most cybercriminals target. The internet networks make the production and dissemination of these sexual contents easier, and quicker coupled with the widespread use of electronic gadgets among most children.
Children of the 21st century are well conversant with the internet and can access the materials therein without problems (Farrukh, Sadwick and Villasenor 5). The expansion of the industry can further be attributed to the availability of digital cameras and the use of credits cards which facilitates the transmission of sexual contents worldwide. It thus becomes more convenient for the perpetrators to use the modern telecommunication networks to coerce more children into the industry and threaten those who fail to accept their offer. As a result, young kids are often forced to do things they do not like but could not get themselves out of the trap for fear of what the criminals would do, as they are unknown people to them.
Infringement of Copyrights
Also known as a copyright violation, it involves the illegal use or replication of items, books or any work that are protected by the copyright laws. When individuals release their music or books, they are often protected against such activities as reproduction or replication of the same contents. Cybercrime has however penetrated this sector, violating the owners’ restriction rights. In the the21st century, the most common form of copyright infringement involves TV shows, films, and movies, texts, and music. Cybercriminals would often obtain copyrighted items from the internet and sell it to those in need of it which affects the owners because they would run at a loss when their items are sold at second-hand prices. Some forms of infringement of copyright include copying a DVD or a CD, sampling of music with copyrights for usage in a different purpose without seeking the owners’ permission (Faga 8).
Hacking involves the unauthorized access of an individual’s private and confidential information. Hackers would mostly target both private and public organizations such as businesses, security firms, commercial institutions, and also the health facilities. The data that hackers often seek is financial records, customer data, and patient personal record. In the government offices and especially the security department, hackers would often intercept computer systems containing information about prominent people in the government. It thus leads to breaching of essential and vital information which could damage the reputation of the security firms (Faga 17).
Hackers also break into a computer system access secretive information and share it with the public which in turn exposes an individual to public humiliation and discussion. They can also introduce viruses and worms into the computer system resulting in a loss of essential personal data. Financial institutions are also at the risk of cybercrimes where hackers gain access into their system and change codes for fraudulent purposes leading to financial losses.
Online and offline stalking is also another way that cybercrimes are used when an individual deliberately follows another using the internet. It causes psychological torture among the victims because their stalkers are anonymous. Individuals would also receive hate texts, death threats or receive inappropriate sexual messages in the social media platforms (Turrillo).
Cybercriminals can further focus their attacks on a network of the computer where they spread threats and messages of attacks through the internet to create fear among people. The aim is often to force a nation to comply with their political or social endeavor. The cybercriminals send messages to the government which is then followed by physical attacks including explosions, injuries, death or plane crashes. The aim of the above activities is often to cause widespread fear among all the people thereby forcing them to submission (Faga 23). Cyberterrorism is a significant threat to a state because the attacks are directed towards government institutions and offices. Essential facilities and structures such as infrastructure and communication networks are often destroyed affecting economic and social development (Vasilescu).
Cybercrimes can further be used to lure young children to engage in sexual relations. Child grooming refers to the state where adults become friends with children for a time and later lure them into accepting sex with them. The widespread use of social media platforms by children makes them vulnerable to such attacks because cybercriminals would only need to befriend them to gain their trust. The initial relationship would seem healthy because the child would receive raises and be involved in legal activities with the perpetrator but with time, it changes to a sexual relationship where the child is emotionally manipulated (Faga 9).
Additionally, cyber crimes involve sextortion where an individual is threatened and blackmailed using nude images. The most common platforms for this cybercrime are often social media such as Facebook, tweeter or text messages. The victim is expected to give in to sexual favors and coerce to accept. For instance, is when someone shares their naked photos and later, they are forced to do something for the perpetrator, or the images would be released to the public. The victim can be forced to further perform sexual acts with the person blackmailing them, to take more nude photos, or act in a pornographic film (Farrukh, Sadwick and Villasenor 5).
In a nutshell, cybercrimes in the 21st century encompass great malice to the community primarily because people are more connected to the internet more. People of all age categories are affected and are at the risk of being victims which call for vigilance and caution when uploading personal information on the various social media pages. The criminals also attack essential government offices and institutions where they can acquire crucial information about the security of the nation and use it to cause fear among the citizens. Cybercrimes is thus a topic that needs to be addressed with caution to protect the welfare of the country and individuals.
Arora, Bhavna. “Exploring and analyzing Internet crimes and their behaviours.” Perspectives in Science (2016): 540-542. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213020916301537.
Faga, Hemen Philip. “The Implications of Transnational Cyber Threats in International Humanitarian Law: Analysing the Distinction Between Cybercrime, Cyber Attack, and Cyber Warfare in the 21st Century.” Baltic Journal of Law and Politics (2017): 10:1, 1-34. DOI: 10.1515/bjlp-2017-0001.
Farrukh, Adina, Rebecca Sadwick and John Villasenor. “Youth Internet Safety: Risks, Responses, and Research Recommendations.” Centre for Technology Innovation at Brookings (2014): 1-18. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Youth-Internet-Safety_v07.pdf.
Turrillo, Hernaldo. “Cyber-crime: The 21st Century Disease.” 3 September 2018. Intelligent HQ. https://www.intelligenthq.com/technology/cyber-crime-the-21st-century-disease/. 16 November 2018.
Vasilescu, Cezar. “Cyber Attacks: Emerging Threats to the 21st Century Critical Information Infrastructures.” Defense and Strategy (2012): 53-62. https://www.obranaastrategie.cz/en/archive/volume-2012/1-2012/articles/cyber-attacks-emerging-threats-to-the-21st-century-critical-information-infrastructures.html.